A former Inuvik, N.W.T., teacher convicted of assaulting his 17-year-old girlfriend has been granted a new trial.
A year ago, Hugues Latour was found guilty of assault, forcibly entering the girl's apartment, and breaching the conditions of his release.
In a decision released this week, a judge overturned the convictions, saying the court did not properly advise Latour of his right to have his trial in his first language, French.
The executive director of a Yellowknife-based francophone advocacy group said he is not familiar with the case, but he said he is surprised the lawyers and judges weren't aware of how to properly advise Latour of his language rights.
"The act referring to the two official languages is clear and well-known and the one that was adopted in 1984 in the Northwest Territories is a very close copy to the official languages act of Canada, so we can't invoke ‘we don't know what's the obligation in relation to the act.' It's very clear," said Leo-Paul Provencher, executive director for La Fédération Franco-Ténoise.
The judge handling the trial asked Latour if he'd like his trial in French, but did not tell him he had a right to a French trial.
Latour is facing numerous other charges.
In August, he will be in court to face charges of sexual assault and sexual touching of a minor.
He is also accused of producing and distributing child pornography.