A lot has changed in relation to the now quasi-legalization of marijuana in Canada. What has not changed though, is that kids (which in Ontario means under 19), cannot under any circumstances legally consume, possess, or share marijuana.
As of October 17th 2018 there has been a massive overhaul to the marijuana laws in Canada. As adults we can now purchase, possess, and consume marijuana legally, subject to a number of restrictions. But like with any big change, you can expect some confusion, some modifications and some bumps in the road in the coming months as these new and massive changes to the law get interpreted, applied and then tested in courts all over the country. Because of the complexity and multi-faceted impact of marijuana legalization, a lot remains up in the air at this early stage. School policies, policing policies and administrative policies are all also undergoing massive reviews to reflect the significant changes that will need to be implemented in response to marijuana legalization.
Often times in a trial, the credibility of a witness is an important issue. The lawyers may seek to attack the credibility of a witness by asking them questions about their criminal record (If they have one). For example, if John Smith swears that he saw my client stealing from a grocery store, it might be helpful to highlight the fact that he himself has a criminal record for perjury (lying to a court). In those circumstances, John Smith's previous criminal conviction for perjury, is relevant to whether he is a credible a witness in my client's trial.
If your child is going to be a witness in a trial, it might be helpful to get some legal advice in advance of his or her testimony in order to ensure that both you and your child understand the risks and obligations that are at play.
On your child's 12 birthday he or she is officially old enough to be charged with a criminal offence. From the age of 12 until they turn 18, any criminal charge they face will be dealt with through the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
The Youth Criminal Justice Act allows for a wide range of potential consequences should your child be found guilty of a criminal offence. The vast majority of the available sentences are community based (not jail) to encourage the young person to understand the consequences of their actions, but also to allow them to move forward with their life in a positive way.
If your child is charged with a criminal offence there are a number of laws that may apply to his or her situation. Think of the criminal justice system like a puzzle, with a lot of smaller pieces of law that fit together to make up the bigger picture. The main acts to be considered are: the Criminal Code, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Youth Criminal Justice Act. (There are others, like the Canada Evidence Act, that also play a role but less often).
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.
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.
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.