R. v. Bouctsis, 2023 ONSC 2405
In the Ontario Superior Court of Justice act of R. v. Bouctsis, the accused young person was convicted of second-degree murder. The accused was 17 years old at the time of the offence. The victim had agreed to meet an individual to sell him one pound of marijuana. The accused accompanied the individual to buy the marijuana from the victim. When they arrived, the accused attempted to rob the victim with a loaded handgun, and in the altercation that followed, the victim was shot in the head and killed.
During sentencing, the Court considered the consequences of a sentence for the accused. If a youth sentence were to be applied, the accused would be sentenced to seven years. If sentenced as an adult, the mandatory minimum was life imprisonment. To determine the fit and appropriate sentence, the Court considered section 72(1) of the Youth Criminal Justice Act. Section 72(1) enumerates a two-pronged test for determining whether or not an adult sentence applies.
An adult sentence applies only if the Court was satisfied that the presumption of diminished moral blameworthiness or culpability of the young person was rebutted; and that the youth sentence would not be of sufficient length for the young person to be held accountable. Despite supports provided to the accused, the accused was still drawn to the criminal drug subculture. The accused was sentenced as an adult with life imprisonment without eligibility of parole for seven years, after which he would be subject to lifetime supervision.
R. v. G.G., 2022 ONSC 6023
In the Ontario Superior Court of Justice case of R. v. G.G., the accused was charged with 52 charges, ranging from robbery to sexual assault, including around 20 allegations of breaching court orders. The Court was asked to review the accused’s detention, and the question of jurisdiction was raised. The issue was whether the Superior Court of Justice have jurisdiction to review the detention of a young person under s. 525 of the Criminal Code.
Section 525 of the Criminal Code details the procedures for pre-trial detention bail reviews. The Youth Criminal Justice Act does provide in section 28 that the provisions in section 525 do apply to young persons, except when they are inconsistent with YCJA. Section 14 of the YCJA gives exclusive jurisdiction to “Youth Justice Courts” when a young person is involved with an offence.
In Ontario, the designated Youth Justice Court is the Ontario Court of Justice. The young person can only be tried in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice if they elect to be tried by a Superior Court judge sitting with or without a jury. This election can only happen if (1) the Crown seeks an adult sentence (2) the young person is charged with murder, or (3) the status of the accused is uncertain. None of these circumstances applied to the case. The jurisdiction over detention was transferred over to the Ontario Court of Justice for review.
R. v. J.R.-S., 2022 ONSC 4619
Ontario Superior Court of Justice case of R. v. J.R.-S, the accused pleaded guilty to first degree murder. He was 14 years old at the time of the offence. The offence happened in a group home, when the offender, without warning or provocation, viciously stabbed another youth to death. The adult in the group foster home had locked up knives and scissors in the master bedroom. While the adult was out on an errand, the accused broke into the bedroom and stole two large kitchen knives. The accused was arrested and charged with mischief for the door, but the adult did not realize the knives were gone. When the accused returned to the foster home, he was agitated and was determined to find out who had reported him to the police. In an altercation, the accused stabbed the deceased multiple times.
Various victim impact statements were filed. The offender identified as Indigenous but waived the preparation of a Gladue report. He had a difficult upbringing, where there was verbal and physical abuse in the home. The offender has a history of substance use that included fentanyl, heroin, and alcohol, and has been diagnosed with ADHD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and a learning disability. The offender was sentenced to the maximum youth sentence for first-degree murder, which is ten years, comprised of six years in custody and four years of conditional supervision. A DNA order and a weapons prohibition order for life was entered.