Saskatchewan man wants his trial heard in Cree

Posted on: February 11th, 2017 by Suzanne Deliscar Add A Comment

A Saskatchewan man’s request to have his murder trial conducted in Cree would represent new ground for language rights in court if granted, says Brampton lawyer-linguist Suzanne Deliscar.

Native affairs newspaper Turtle Island News reports that Gordon Fiddler, a member of the Waterhen Lake First Nation in northern Saskatchewan accused of killing a fellow band member, has asked for his Court of Queen’s Bench trial to be heard in the Cree language, but a judge has yet to rule on the matter.

Deliscar, who runs Deliscar Professional Corporation, a law firm that offers services in English, French and Spanish, says that it’s not unusual for an accused to get proceedings interpreted by a speaker of their mother tongue when a trial is held in English or French.

“This sounds like something bigger, which would require the judge, the lawyers and the witnesses to be comfortable speaking Cree, or to have interpreters if they weren’t,” Deliscar tells “It’s a fascinating scenario.”

Saskatchewan’s provincial court runs a Cree circuit court where criminal proceedings are heard partially or entirely in Cree and the judge and support workers all speak the language. Cree-speaking legal aid lawyers are also made available on the circuit, but there is no equivalent service in the superior court, where Fiddler’s murder trial is scheduled to be held.

Read the rest of the article here:

Leave a Reply