What is Youth Court in Brampton?
Youth court is a division of a provincial court in either the Ontario Court of Justice or Ontario Superior Court of Justice that deals specifically with cases where the accused is a young person aged between 12 and 17. Youth court is held in the same courthouse as adult criminal matters but sometimes in a separate courtroom. Youth matters are also found on a separate docket from adult matters, which is a list of cases that is to be called each day. Like an adult court, youth court matters are heard by a judge or justice of the peace.
Youth court also offers special protections for accused persons and victims of crime. One of the principles listed under s. 3 of the Youth Criminal Justice Act ensures that the process is designed to protect the rights and freedoms of young persons – including the right to privacy. The principles also state all parties are to be informed about the criminal process and given an opportunity to meaningfully participate in it.
Crime committed by youth offenders is a problem faced by many communities. Many police departments provide data to the public on the topic of youth crime. The Peel Regional Police, which serves Brampton, is one such department. Statistics provided by the PRP show that they charged 685 youths with offences in 2022. Of that number, 465 were charged with a crime against another person. There were 126 youths charged with a crime against property. There were 19 youth charged with drug-related offences, and four were charged with criminal driving offences.
What is a Youth Record?
A youth record is anything that contains information on a youth case or that was used while investigating an offence. A youth record could be a physical or digital document that contains information such as the name and date of birth of a youth offender in Brampton, the details of their arrest and the offence they were charged with, the outcome of the case as well as what they were sentenced to. A record may also contain any information provided by people known to the offender that was used in a pre-sentence report to aid a judge in the sentencing process.
Youth records are kept private from the public. They can only be accessed by an offender, their family, their lawyer, or the victim. The record can also be seen by the Crown, the judge, the police involved in the case, other law enforcement personnel, and anyone authorized by the court. A youth record can only be accessed for a certain amount of time before it sealed or destroyed. This period is known as an access period and its length is determined by how each case is resolved.