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Lambda trial to be heard in English

Judge rejects request to have matter heard in French but says an interpreter remains an option

A judge has turned down a request to have a trial for Prince George nightclub fighting two pandemic-era tickets heard in French.

Representing the owner of Lambda Cabaret, now known as Club 1177, lawyer Saron Gebresellassi was seeking the step because an expert she plans to have testify on behalf of her client speaks only French.

However in reaching his decision Tuesday, Provincial Court Judge Martin Nadon found the proviso, as set out in the Criminal Code, applies only to the accused and only if that person can provide instruction to counsel in that language. 

Gebresellassi had argued that Learn to Earn Bartending School and Consulting is listed as the accused and for the matter at hand, the expert speaks on the company's behalf.

But Nadon found Learn to Earn is "closely held" by Linda Allen, noting that the corporation documents list her as both president and secretary, therefore precluding the expert as the accused.

"The fact of the matter is, it's an organization of one," Nadon said and went on to note that during submissions on the matter, Gebresellassi conceded that Allen does not speak French.

In denying the application, Nadon said the accused can still bring in an interpreter.

On the matter of how long the trial could take, Crown counsel suggest a day while Gebresellassi said she will need five. Nadon forwarded the matter to judicial case management to schedule two days. 

Allen is fighting two tickets the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch issued the nightspot on Sept. 25, 2021 for alleged violations of COVID-related restrictions.

About a dozen supporters of Allen were in the gallery to take in the decision on Tuesday.