The Great Youth Criminal Justice Act Debate

The Act goes into force April 1, 2003

YCJA

YOA

New: December 2010: Enter Your Comments and Opinion Respecting the YCJA

February 2003

Should police be permitted to interrogate young persons without notifying their parents ?

Resolved that s. 56 of the Young Offenders Act and s. 146 of the Youth Criminal Justice Act be repealed and replaced by:

"A young person has no more rights than an adult when it comes to interrogations in police custody. The police may take a statement from a young person without notifying any parent. A young person who provides police with a confession is presumed to have waived his or her right to counsel." 

Here's what the YOA says in s. 56:

2) No oral or written statement given by a young person to a peace officer or to any other person who is, in law, a person in authority on the arrest or detention of the young person or in circumstances where the peace officer or other person has reasonable grounds for believing that the young person has committed an offence is admissible against the young person unless

(a) the statement was voluntary;

(b) the person to whom the statement was given has, before the statement was made, clearly explained to the young person, in language appropriate to his age and understanding, that

(i) the young person is under no obligation to give a statement,

(ii) any statement given by him may be used as evidence in proceedings against him,

(iii) the young person has the right to consult counsel and a parent or other person in accordance with paragraph (c), and

(iv) any statement made by the young person is required to be made in the presence of counsel and any other person consulted in accordance with paragraph (c), if any, unless the young person desires otherwise;

(c) the young person has, before the statement was made, been given a reasonable opportunity to consult

(i) with counsel, and

(ii) a parent, or in the absence of a parent, an adult relative, or in the absence of a parent and an adult relative, any other appropriate adult chosen by the young person; and

(d) where the young person consults any person pursuant to paragraph (c), the young person has been given a reasonable opportunity to make the statement in the presence of that person.

 

Here's what the new YCJA says in s. 146:

(2) No oral or written statement made by a young person who is less than eighteen years old, to a peace officer or to any other person who is, in law, a person in authority, on the arrest or detention of the young person or in circumstances where the peace officer or other person has reasonable grounds for believing that the young person has committed an offence is admissible against the young person unless
    (a) the statement was voluntary;

    (b) the person to whom the statement was made has, before the statement was made, clearly explained to the young person, in language appropriate to his or her age and understanding, that

      (i) the young person is under no obligation to make a statement,

      (ii) any statement made by the young person may be used as evidence in proceedings against him or her,

      (iii) the young person has the right to consult counsel and a parent or other person in accordance with paragraph (c), and

      (iv) any statement made by the young person is required to be made in the presence of counsel and any other person consulted in accordance with paragraph (c), if any, unless the young person desires otherwise;

    (c) the young person has, before the statement was made, been given a reasonable opportunity to consult

      (i) with counsel, and

      (ii) with a parent or, in the absence of a parent, an adult relative or, in the absence of a parent and an adult relative, any other appropriate adult chosen by the young person, as long as that person is not a co-accused, or under investigation, in respect of the same offence; and

    (d) if the young person consults a person in accordance with paragraph (c), the young person has been given a reasonable opportunity to make the statement in the presence of that person.

What do you think? What does the word "waiver" mean? Would you waive these rights?

See Study by K. Higgins-Biss re Waivers of Rights


City:
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada L5L 2M1

Comments

The studies by Grisso in the United States and Higgins-Biss in Canada establish that young persons too easily give up their rights to silence especially when they don't understand their rights to consult with parents and lawyers prior to and during interrogation. Educators need to assist in helping young persons to be aware of the dangers of interrogation. Efforts by police to influence Parliament to water down these rights are misguided.


City:
Kitchener, ON
Date:
14 January 2003
Time:
21:41:58

Comments

I think the police already have too much power and will only become worse power-trippers as they can then intimidate young people who don't know their rights. The word "waiver" basically means "confession" and I would not waive my rights. I know what my rights are. I keep myself informed so as not to be intimidated (harassed is actually a more meaningful word) by police.


City:
Penticton, BC
Date:
24 January 2003
Time:
12:49:50

Comments

Does "a person in authority" refer possibly to school Principals, and vice Principals? If so any statement made to them should also be under advisement. From a personal experience I know that anything said to these people can and will be used in a court.


City:
Prince Albert SASK
Date:
26 January 2003
Time:
02:47:35

Comments

Youth crime capital of Canada, probably western North America. Most of the kids picked up here don't have parents, at least in the truest sense. They grab onto cops and spill their guts out just because they listen. Then they are put into jail for the winter so they at least keep warm. We do not need this ACT or any other act. Just the criminal code. One law for everyone.


City:
Belfast, PEI
Date:
16 February 2003
Time:
18:12:37

Comments

Although parents are legally responsible for their children until the age of eighteen, they can't be with them 24/7. Police have a duty to enforce law and order and protect the public but if they do have to interrogate a minor, the parents should be notified. There will be urgent cases where police will have to question a youth with or without the parent's knowledge.


City:
Brantford
Date:
02 March 2003
Time:
18:50:52

Comments

I want to know if this includes spontaneous utterances or not. As for the person who says the police have too much power...what on earth are you basing that on? Would you like to police to be like Crime Stoppers, and only catch people who get turned over to them? Do you work with the police? Another enforcement agency? Do you actually know one single thing about police powers? This isn't even about police powers, it's about admissibility of evidence. Unless you have any actual experience than I am going to have to accuse you of being ignorant, and an agitator and most likely, a criminal. What powers do the police really have that are unjust? The RIDE program is virtually the only instance where the police are permitted to perform searches without grounds. Honestly, how does this give the police more power? If the youth chooses not to counsel with a parent or legal counsel then that is their choice. If they did NOT have the right to wave those rights, THEN you should become agitated that the youth is being stripped of their rights, but the right to confess. How frightening. I wish that I did not have the right to make a confession to the police. If the police do not notify the youth of his rights in a way he does not understand, then the confession is invalid anyway. So what on earth is your complaint? Did you even read the issue in question, or did you just want to take an opportunity to bash the people who uphold the laws formed by the Canadian parliament?

Yes, a person in authority could be a principal, security guard etc. I like the law as it stands, everyone should be free to make a statement without the parents present because what if the parents would be somehow included in the child's statement. Let it be the child's choice.


City:
Ottawa
Date:
03 April 2003
Time:
09:50:57

Comments

I am a 16 year old high school student. From what i have seen and from what my peers go through from police we noticed that when it comes to dealing with the law that we don't really know our rights so we tend to get intimidate. I think that parents should should be notified before any interrogation occurs



Revised: 09 Dec 2010 11:29:17 -0500 .