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Youth Archives

Délai déraisonnable pour les jeunes contrevenants

L'arrêt Jordan reçoit beaucoup d'attention aux médias. À travers du Canada, les juges ordonnent des arrêts de procédures pour certaines accusations qui subissent des délais déraisonnables en vertu de l'article 11(b) de la Charte. Le nouveau cadre d'analyse établi par la Cour Suprême du Canada établit un plafond présumé de 18 mois en cour provinciale. Avant Jordan, la cour évaluait le délai en vertu du cadre d'analyse Morin et devait déterminer si la présence ou l'absence de préjudice causé par le délai (incluant autres facteurs) signifiait que le délai était raisonnable ou déraisonnable. Bien que le cadre d'analyse Morin s'appliquait aux jeunes contrevenants, le préjudice était plus important pour les jeunes que les adultes dont des arrêts de procédures pour les jeunes étaient ordonnés dans des cas ou que le délai était moins qu'un adulte.

Diversion for Youth

Extrajudicial sanctions or EJS is a program for young persons charged with a criminal offence. This program is also sometimes referred to as Diversion. When a young person has never been charged with an offence, before, and when the allegation they are facing is not particularly serious (a theft or a mischief for example), your lawyer may be able to get the prosecutor to agree to participation in this program. This program provides a young person with the opportunity to avoid further involvement with the criminal justice system, and ultimately, the hope is that if your child participates successfully in the program the charges will be withdrawn or stayed. In other words, as a result of successful participation in EJS the charges will be thrown out and your child will not face any consequences criminally for their actions. (no youth record, no youth sentence etc). EJS is run through the Ottawa Boys and Girls Club. If your child is accepted into this program he or she will meet with a case worker from the Ottawa Boys and Girls Club and based on the particular circumstances at issue the caseworker will set up goals that your child needs to accomplish. Some examples are: volunteer work, counselling/programming, or a workshop. After the completion of these goals a report will be sent to the prosecutor confirming that your child has successfully completed the program. For more information visit the "Diversion" page at www.bgcottawa.org

Unreasonable Delay for Young Offenders

The Jordan case is getting a lot of media attention. Charges are being stayed across Canada, including serious charges like murder. The Jordan presumptive ceiling for provincial court matters is 18 months. Before Jordan, courts assessed delay based on loose Morin guidelines and determined whether the presence or absence of prejudice caused by the delay (among other factors) meant that the delay was reasonable or unreasonable. Although the Morin guidelines applied to youth cases, prejudice was more significant to youths than adults so stays were ordered in cases with less delay than adult stay cases.

Eligibility for Youth Mental Health Court

Youth Mental Health Court is a specialized court in Ottawa for young persons who deal with either mental health or serious addiction issues. Eligibility for this court depends on a number of factors, ranging from the seriousness of the charges to the type of mental health illness your child has been diagnosed with, to your child's history with the criminal justice system. Further, this court is only for those young persons who are accepting responsibility for their charges. In other words, if your child has indicated that he or she is not guilty of the allegations and would like to fight the charges, this court is not for them. If on the other hand, your child accepts responsibility for the charges and he or she suffers from mental health/addiction issues, this specialized court might be the right option and you should discuss it further with your lawyer. If your lawyer agrees this is a suitable option they will fill out an application form to the court with you and your child. The application then goes to the Crown Attorney's Office for consideration. Ultimately the Crown has the discretion to decide whether your child is accepted into youth mental health court or not. If the Crown rejects the application, there is very little recourse to get them to change their mind. Given that, it is very important that as much relevant information as possible (things like medical information, history of mental health diagnosis, previous treatment etc.) is included in the application in order to give your child the best chance possible at being accepting into this rehabilitative court program.

Who is the Client in Youth Cases?

When your child is charged with a criminal offence, and you hire a lawyer to represent your child in court, it is important to remember that ultimately, it is your child that is the client and not you. This is so even when you have paid for the lawyer (which is most often the case). As a parent, you play a crucial role in the process, not only in helping your child through the process and with the decisions that lie ahead, but also in ensuring that his or her lawyer understands any particular challenges your child has faced or circumstances that may be relevant to why he or she has been charged. Your lawyer should encourage you to attend all the meetings with your child, in order to ensure that everyone is on the same page. Your lawyer should also encourage your child to consult you and include you in all decision making. Often times criminal charges can result in complex decisions for your child and it is extremely useful for a parent or family member to be able to offer assistance in working through those decisions. It is worth keeping in mind however that if at any time your child requests to have a private conversation with his or her lawyer, the lawyer cannot disclose the contents of that conversation to you as parent, as a result of the lawyer's obligations. This is called solicitor-client privilege. Similarly, sometimes a parent and child will be at odds as to the appropriate course of action, when this occurs, the lawyer is obligated to take your child's instructions on the issue, as ultimately, it is his or her decision to make.

Acting as a Surety for your Child

When your child is charged with a criminal offence there are a number of ways they can be released on bail. It can be done directly from the police station after they are charged, or alternatively they can be released from bail court either with the Prosecutor's consent or after a bail hearing. For more information about these processes read my blog posts titled "Your Child's Undertaking to a Peace Officer" and "Your Child's Appearance in Bail Court".

Avocats pour les adolescents

Les adolescents qui sont accusés d'une infraction criminelle sont soumis à une procédure pénale distincte de celles qui régissent les procès pénaux pour adultes. Ce ne sont pas tous les avocats de la défense criminelle qui s'occupent des personnes mineures, donc si votre enfant a été accusé d'une infraction criminelle, l'aide d'un avocat avec expérience dans le système de justice pénale pour les adolescents peut être essentielle afin de protéger ses droits.

Information that is Helpful in Getting Your Child Released on Bail

When your child is charged with a criminal offence there are a number of ways they can be released on bail. It can be done directly from the police station after they are charged, or alternatively they can be released from bail court either with the Prosecutor's consent or after a bail hearing. For more information about these processes read my blog posts titled "Your Child's Undertaking to a Peace Officer" and "Your Child's Appearance in Bail Court".

Your Child's Appearance in Bail Court

Most often, when your child is charged with a criminal offence, he or she will be released from the police station with a piece of paper titled Undertaking to a Peace Officer. Sometimes though, if the charges are particularly serious, or if your child already has a history with the criminal justice system, upon arrest he or she will not be released from the police station. Instead, your child will be transported by police from the station to the courthouse to appear in bail court. The timing of this move depends on when your child was taken into custody, but the police are obligated to bring any person taken into custody to court within twenty four hours.

What You Need to Know About Your Child's Undertkaing to a Peace Officer

Most often, when your child is charged with a criminal offence, he or she will be released from the police station with a piece of paper titled Undertaking to a Peace Officer. The title of this piece of paper does not accurately communicate how important it is. It really should be called "Bail Conditions that Must be Followed", because that's really what it is.

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Youth Archives | Ottawa Criminal Law Blog