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Court delays meant dropped child sex abuse charges: report

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – BC’s children’s advocate is concerned delays in the court system mean child sex abuse charges are being dropped.

A report has been released into the case of a child who came to Canada with her family in 2005. The girl claimed her father repeatedly sexually and physically assaulted her. She told her school counselor that her mother was being abused as well.

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond says police were quick to act, recommending 13 charges in 2008. But it took almost two years to get statements translated into English; by then, it was too late. The judge stayed the proceedings in 2010.

Why are we only hearing about this case now?

“When the case was stayed, I took a bit of time and stood back before my full report. Within one year, you can re-activate the case, so I watched it to see if they might re-activate it. It wasn’t re-activated, so it will never be able to be brought back to trial again,” explains Turpel-Lafond.

She is recommending the Justice Ministry increase translation services and closely track cases involving children.

She concludes that this is an unacceptable outcome that contributed to the suffering of an entire family, and in particular, a severely-traumatized girl, “Not having that day in court, deprives someone part of that healing process. My heart goes out to those victims and I know that it means something to them that we can at least look at what went wrong.”

(Warning: the following link contains some graphic details) Click here to read Turpel-Lafond’s full report.