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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Pre-Sentence Report?

Section 39(6) of the Youth Criminal Justice Act states that a pre-sentence report for the young offender is necessary if and when a custodial sentence is imposed under section 42 of the YCJA. The Court may dispense with this if they deem it is not necessary. Once the accused is found guilty and convicted, a pre-sentence report will be provided to the Court, the defence, and the Crown. The Defence may use the pre-sentence report to suggest a mitigated sentence.

The report is prepared by a probation officer. They will interview the young offender on their family life, community life, mental health issue. It would detail from early childhood to the current age of the young person, including anything that would lower their moral blameworthiness. The purpose is to provide a holistic picture of the young offender, including recommendations regarding how likely the accused will re-offend. This helps the Court determine the most appropriate sentence.

If a Youth is Sent to Jail in Orangeville, Where Are They Sent?

Jail is the most severe form of punishment that the criminal justice system offers. When a young person is sent to prison, they are not sent to adult prison. Section 84 of the YCJA ensures that the young person will be held separate and apart from any adult in custody. Rather, they are sent to juvenile detention centres. If the offence is violent, serious, or if the young person has a criminal history or a history of non-compliance, the Crown may seek a custodial sentence.

Custodial sentences may be served in deferred, open, or closed custody situations. Deferred custody is a sentence served in the community under community supervision. Open custody functions similar to a group home, where there is a designated location and supervisor. Closed custody is the most severe form of custody, where the young person is completely separated from the community with security measures in place.

Is There an Extrajudicial Record for Youth Cases?

Yes, the police will keep a record of any extrajudicial measures imposed on a young person. Section 110 to 129 of the YCJA, known as the access regime, codifies the keeping and disclosing of records of young offenders. These sections enumerate how long a record can be kept, how they are accessed, and by who. Relevant parties that may access these records include courts, police, counsel, and the Crown. The records become inaccessible once they are closed and cannot be accessed without a s. 123 YCJA Order made by a court. This is to protect the privacy of youth and young offenders.

A ”record” is defined by section 2 of the YCJA as anything containing information. This may include microform, sound recording, videotape, machine-readable record, and any copy of those things that is useful for the investigation or prosecution under the YCJA. Only a youth justice court, a review board, or any court dealing with young offenders can keep such a record. Section 115(1.1) says that the police force will keep a record of any and all extrajudicial measures that they used to deal with young persons. This record may be provided to the RCMP or the Court if the young person is convicted of an offence. This record becomes sealed after two years if an extrajudicial sanction is used to deal with the young offender.

How Criminal Charges can be Resolved in Canada

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What are the Victim’s Rights in Youth Cases in Orangeville?

The Canadian Victims Bill of Rights establishes and enumerates several rights victims of criminal offences have. This bill works in conjunction with the Criminal Code as well as the Youth Criminal Justice Act. Section 6-8 of the Victims Bill of Rights enumerates the victims’ right to information about the offender or accused, the criminal justice system, the investigation, the proceedings. Every victim has the right to be protected in matters of security, intimidation and retaliation, and identity and privacy.

Section 111(1) of the Youth Criminal Justice Act prevents the publication of any identifying information for victims or witnesses who are children and young persons. Section 12 of the YCJA enumerates that the victim has the right to know the identity of the young person who committed the offence and if they were dealt with. The victim also has a reasonable possibility to give an interview for the pre-sentence report. This would provide a more holistic picture of the offence. Every victim can file a victim impact statement to be considered during sentencing, and they have the right to convey their views and opinions about decisions made by the authorities. They also have a right to have those views considered.

New Changes to Sexual Assault Laws in 2024

What are Some Ancillary Orders?

In additional to sentences, the Court may enter additional orders that the offender would have to comply with. These orders may include, but are not limited to, a weapons prohibition, a DNA order, and restitution orders. Section 42(2) lists out all the possible youth sentences available to a sentencing judge, such as: a reprimand, an absolute discharge, a conditional discharge, a fine, damages, restitution, other compensation (such as personal service), community service, prohibition/seizure/forfeiture orders, probation (of two years or less), intensive support or supervision program, non-residential programs (no more than six months), custody and supervision order, as well as custody and supervision orders followed by a conditional supervision order, deferred custody and supervision order, intensive rehabilitative custody and supervision order, as well as any other reasonable orders.

Under section 51(1) of the YCJA, weapons prohibition orders under s. 109 can be applied to young offenders. Usually, the duration of such an order is two years. In addition, DNA orders are also allowed for young offenders, as a DNA sample might aid the police in catching suspects. A SOIRA order, however, only applies to adults, as the Court prefers not to impose overly onerous orders onto young offenders with a high chance of rehabilitation.

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Recent Cases

R. v. M.B., 2021 ONCJ 355 

In the Ontario Court of Justice case of R. v. M.B., the accused was charged with several firearm and drug related charges for two incidents. One incident involved a targeted shooting at a Subway restaurant, while another concerned the accused being in a car transporting cannabis with the intent to distribute. The Crown submits that the young person should be sentenced as an adult.

During sentencing, the Court enumerated the primary principle of sentencing young offenders, and that is to recognize and presume that young people possess a “diminished level of moral blameworthiness” because of their “reduced level of maturity.” However, if conditions enumerated under section 72 of the Youth Criminal Justice Act are met, the accused may be sentenced as an adult. In order for the accused to be sentenced as an adult, the Crown must rebut the presumption of the youth’s diminished moral blameworthiness and that a youth sentence would not be sufficient to hold the young person accountable for their behaviour. To rebut the presumption of diminished moral blameworthiness of the offender, the Crown must prove that the young person demonstrated a high level of maturity, moral sophistication, and capacity for independent judgement as an adult.

The sentence must also be proportional to the offence, and similar to sentences imposed on similar young persons in similar situations. It was found that the Crown did not meet this onus, and the accused was sentenced as youth to three further years of custody and supervision.

R. v. F.B., 2021 ONCJ 108

In the Ontario Court of Justice case of R. v. F.B., the accused was a young person who pled guilty to aggravated assault. The accused had stabbed the complainant, who was trying to intervene in a fight. With no prior criminal record, the accused was a high school student, albeit with a long record of school absences. The accused had also completed 150 hours of community service, as well as a positive letter from his work at a cabinet manufacturer.

During sentencing, the Court considered several factors when deciding on a sentence for the young person. The assault on the complainant was found to be unprovoked and cowardly. The judge found that the incident was not a schoolyard fight that went too far, rather, it was one-sided. It was emphasized that schools were supposed to be a safe space for learning. However, the accused’s guilty plea and his letter of apology to the complainant was found to be mitigating. The accused was sentenced to four months of custody, served in open custody, followed by 18 months of probation.

R. v. A.D., 2019 ONSC 6300 

In the Ontario Superior Court of Justice of R. v. A.D., the accused was found guilty by a jury of manslaughter. The accused was present at the scene of a shooting and assisted the culprits in their escape via a taxicab. The victim had entered a washroom in a fast-food restaurant, approximately a minute later, multiple gunshots were heard from the washroom. The Crown did not submit an application to sentence the young person as an adult, therefore, the young person was sentenced under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. The accused was 16 years old at the time of the offence.

The offender was found by the Court to have known that the culprits of the shooting were going to commit a crime and aided them. He was also aware that one of the culprits had a gun, and at a minimum, acted as a lookout for the culprits. According to the sentencing regime of the YCJA, the Court had to consider the degree of participation the young person had in the offence, the harm done to the victims, the foreseeability of the harm, any reparations made, and several other aggravating and mitigating circumstances. The offender was sentenced to two years and nine months, less the time already served, in addition to a probation period of two years.

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About the Author

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Jordan Donich

Jordan Donich has been a Lawyer for over 10 years and is a trusted legal analyst by Canadian Media. He is as a leader in Canada’s tech sector for lawyers and developer of Law Newbie. Jordan is a Black Belt with the Japan Karate Association and trained in Krav Maga. He won a Gold Medal at 2004 Canadian National Championships and was published in the National Newspaper Awards.

Jordan has been featured in Forbes and is a member of DMZ Angels in Toronto.