The youth justice system affects individuals between the ages of 12 and 17 who get into trouble with the law.
Our goal is to ensure a fair and effective youth justice system.
The Youth criminal justice Act governs the application of criminal and correctional law to those 12 years old or older, but younger than 18 at the time of committing the offence (Section 2 of the YCJA). Youth aged 12 to 17 may be sentenced as adults under certain conditions, as described later on in the act. The Criminal Code, section 13, states “No person shall be convicted of an offence in respect of an act or omission on his or her part while that person was under the age of twelve years.”
Section 4 of Youth criminal justice Act sets out principles that govern the establishment of policies about extrajudicial measures:
** They are often most appropriate to address youth crime;
** They allow for effective intervention focused on correcting offending behavior;
** They are presumed to be adequate for young persons charged with a non-violent offence and are not guilty of any prior offence and
** They should be used if they are sufficient to hold a young offender accountable and may be used if a young person has previously been dealt with by extrajudicial measures
These measures are applied by police and Crown attorneys with the intention that youth can be held liable through non-court measures for their offence(s).
Under Section 5 of the Youth criminal defence office Brampton objectives of these measures are to:
** Provide an effective and timely response to offending behavior outside of judicial measures.
** Encourage young persons to acknowledge and repair the harm caused to the victim/community.
** Encourage families and members of the community to get involved in implementing the measures.
** Provide victims a chance to take part in the decisions relating to the measures and to receive reparation.
** Respect the freedoms of young persons and ensure proportionality to the seriousness of the crime.
These objectives are specially designed so that a wide range of diversionary options are available to achieve an array of objectives and it is important to take into consideration many factors when deciding on a fair response to the offence. For example, if the young person has already started reparation to the harm done to the victim, the person deciding on the type of extrajudicial measure should consider that factor when determining an appropriate response.
An extrajudicial sanction is defined as a type of extrajudicial measure used to deal with a young person only if they cannot be adequately dealt by a warning, caution or referral as outlined above. Conditions that dictate this are the seriousness of the offence, the nature and number of previous offences committed by the young person or any other aggravating circumstances. Extrajudicial sanctions examples include restitution or compensation, service to the victim or community, attendance and participating in counseling and treatment programs, etc.
Formerly termed as alternative measures under the Youth criminal defence office Brampton extrajudicial sanctions are important for they are a good alternative option to the formal court process for the young person. If they comply satisfactorily with the sanction the charge can be dismissed. However, failure to comply or unsatisfactory performance may result in a charge or return to court. The decision whether to apply an extrajudicial sanction lies in with the police officer, Crown Prosecutor, or other officials and in comparison to other types of extrajudicial measures, a more formal set of rules applies to extrajudicial sanctions
The Youth Criminal Justice Act gives a youth the right to retain and instruct counsel without delay, which was amended by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This means that young persons who are arrested or detained for any reason must be told of their right to obtain a lawyer before any lawful procedures are conducted. The youth must also be given the opportunity to obtain this counsel. If the youth does not have a lawyer present at the first court date, the judge must inform the youth of their right of counsel.
In keeping with its principles and goals the Act allows for extrajudicial measures, including extrajudicial sanctions that can be used to address offences committed by young persons without resorting to judicial proceedings. Extrajudicial measures are simply defined as measures other than judicial proceedings. Before commencing judicial proceedings police officers are required to consider whether extrajudicial measures would be more appropriate, such as issuing a warning, administering a caution or referring the young person to a community program or agency.
An extrajudicial sanction can be used if a young person cannot adequately be dealt with by a warning, caution or referral. Conditions on the use of extrajudicial sanctions include: the young person must consent to the use of sanctions; the young person must accept responsibility for the act that forms the basis of the offence; and the sanction must be part of a program of sanctions authorized by a provincial government or, in the case of the territories, by the Government.
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