New & Notable: Seeing isn't believing

Richard Titchener was charged with one of count of uttering a threat to cause death or bodily harm and one count of sexual assault. Following a 9-day trial before a judge and jury, he was convicted of the sexual assault and acquitted of the uttering threat charge. Two of the witnesses for the Crown, including the victim, were deaf. They testified via a sign language interpreter who communicated their evidence in English. Titchener was convicted and appealed: 2013 BCCA 64.


Titchener raised three grounds for his appeal including the fact that no video recording was made of the two witnesses who testified using sign language and an interpreter. A further issue was raised in respect of the interpretation provided for the victim who had no thumbs and therefore used an improvised form of sign language.  Titchener argued that the absence of such a recording rendered the record of the proceeding insufficient thus entitling him to a new trial.

Ryan JA writing for a unanimous British Columbia Court of Appeal treated this ground of appeal as requiring three separate inquiries.

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