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Youth Charges Young Persons

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Youth Charges

The Youth Criminal Justice Act is the law that governs the youth justice system in Canada. The Act applies to youth who are at least 12 but under 18 years old, and who are alleged to have committed criminal offences. The Declaration of Principle set out in the Act states that the youth justice system is intended to protect the public by (i) holding young persons accountable through measures that are proportionate to the seriousness of the offence and the degree of responsibility of the young person, (ii) promoting the rehabilitation and reintegration of young persons, and (iii) supporting crime prevention by referring young persons to programs or agencies in the community to address the circumstances underlying their offending behaviour.

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youth charge

Youth Sentencing and Principles

Part 4, Section 38 of the Youth Criminal Justice Act outlines the purposes and principles of youth sentencing. Subsection (1) states that "The purpose of sentencing under section 42 (youth sentences) is to hold a young person accountable for an offence through the imposition of just sanctions that have meaningful consequences for the young person and that promote his or her rehabilitation and reintegration into society, thereby contributing to the long-term protection of the public."


Types of Youth Sentencing

Under Part 4, Section 42 of the Youth Criminal Justice Act, there are various setencing options that a Judge may impose on a youth who is guilty of a charge. For example, sentences will depend on the type of offence and could range from a simple reprimand, community service on terms fixed by the court and supervised, probation, restitution, intensive support and supervision program, or even custody.

juvenile criminal

Extrajudicial Measures

Part 1, Section 4 outlines the principles to apply in addition to those principles set out in section 3: (a) extrajudicial measures are often the most appropriate and effective way to address youth crime; (b) extrajudicial measures allow for effective and timely interventions focused on correcting offending behaviour; (c) extrajudicial measures are presumed to be adequate to hold a young person accountable for his or her offending behaviour if the young person has committed a non-violent offence and has not previously been found guilty of an offence; and (d) extrajudicial measures should be used if they are adequate to hold a young person accountable for his or her offending behaviour and, if the use of extrajudicial measures is consistent with the principles set out in this section, nothing in this Act precludes their use in respect of a young person who (i) has previously been dealt with by the use of extrajudicial measures, or (ii) has previously been found guilty of an offence..

young offender

Youth Criminal Records

Governed under Part 6 of the Act, Section 118 (1) states that, "Except as authorized or required by this Act, no person shall be given access to a record kept under sections 114 to 116, and no information contained in it may be given to any person, where to do so would identify the young person to whom it relates as a young person dealt with under this Act." This does not not apply to records kept in respect of an offence for which an adult sentence has been imposed once the time allowed for the taking of an appeal has expired or, if an appeal is taken, all proceedings in respect of the appeal have been completed and the appeal court has upheld an adult sentence.

Access the Youth Criminal Justice Act here

Youth Criminal Cases in the News

  Oct 9, 2014 Brant News

Youth facing charges after chasing man with sword

A 14-year-old boy is facing charges after chasing a man with a “ninja-style sword” and jumping on top of his car...

  Oct 6, 2014 The Canadian Press

Teen requests youth sentence for human trafficking

A young woman convicted of running a prostitution ring in Ottawa when she was 15 is seeking a youth sentence, saying she is sorry and will forever live with the consequences of her "vile actions"...

  Sep 30, 2014 Hamilton Spectator

System ‘failed’ slain Hamilton teen and his accused, experts say

Brodie Nicholls, 18 — just months into adulthood — is charged with second-degree murder in Clarke's death. The two barely knew each other, yet were both involved in programming for at-risk youth in their community...

  Sep 24, 2014 The Canadian Press

Teen charged with murder in stabbing death

A 17-year-old youth, who cannot be identified under provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act, is facing a second-degree murder charge in the stabbing...

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