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The Great Youth Criminal Justice Act Debate

The Act goes into force April 1, 2003

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

 

The debate for March 2002:

Should young persons have the right to consult with a parent and/or a lawyer prior to and during interrogation by police?

Studies have shown that young persons tend to easily give up their rights to silence and to consult with an adult. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Should they have special protections? 

See the study by Karen Higgins-Biss 

    Read What Others Have Said


    City:
    Mississauga
    Date:
    19 Jan 2002
    Time:
    12:47:35

    Comments

    The YOA provides for a waiver in section 56: "(4) A young person may waive the rights under paragraph (2)(c) or (d) but any such waiver shall be videotaped or be in writing, and where it is in writing it shall contain a statement signed by the young person that the young person has been apprised of the right being waived." The new YCJA in s. 146 provides: A young person may waive the rights under paragraph (2)(c) or (d) but any such waiver

    (a) must be recorded on video tape or audio tape; or

    (b) must be in writing and contain a statement signed by the young person that he or she has been informed of the right being waived.

    (5) When a waiver of rights under paragraph (2)(c) or (d) is not made in accordance with subsection (4) owing to a technical irregularity, the youth justice court may determine that the waiver is valid if it is satisfied that the young person was informed of his or her rights, and voluntarily waived them.

    (6) When there has been a technical irregularity in complying with paragraphs (2)(b) to (d), the youth justice court may admit into evidence a statement referred to in subsection (2), if satisfied that the admission of the statement would not bring into disrepute the principle that young persons are entitled to enhanced procedural protection to ensure that they are treated fairly and their rights are protected.



    City:
    New Brunswick, Canada
    Date:
    10 Feb 2002
    Time:
    17:40:14

    Comments

    Young Offenders should have the same rights as adults and have the right to the lawyers. But not their parents. Just because the are Youths the law should not be weak for them. When they get older and they are going to think that it is okay to do the things that they did in the past. They have to be punished so that they won't do it again.


    City:
    Oshawa
    Date:
    15 Mar 2002
    Time:
    09:22:48

    Comments

    Yes, I do believe they should have parental or legal advice to protect themselves from either being falsely accused or manipulated or at worst assaulted.


    City:
    Toronto
    Date:
    15 Mar 2002
    Time:
    12:14:03

    Comments

    I think young people are responsible for there own actions and shouldn't get any kinds of special privoledges when it comes to being interrogated or charged with an offence.


    City:
    Chelsea, Quebec
    Date:
    03 Apr 2002
    Time:
    15:02:53

    Comments

    i think that students give up their rights too easily because they think they can get away with it so i think that they should have the same penalty as adults do for murder, or criminal acts.


    City:
    merrickville, ont
    Date:
    07 Apr 2002
    Time:
    14:38:31

    Comments

    Of course every, youth should have the right to communicate with parents during a legal proceeding, they don't know the laws or what rights they have under the laws.


    City:
    Mississauga
    Date:
    12 Apr 2002
    Time:
    22:56:05

    Comments

    i think that if the child is 15 years of age or younger they should have the right to consult a parent or lawyer because they might not know how to handle the situation.. when a child turns 16 they can start driving and i think that if they are given that priviledge they should know what the consequences are and be able to take responsibility of their actions on their own because they were the ones who did it, not their parents and they have to handle it themselves.


    City:
    morristown
    Date:
    17 Apr 2002
    Time:
    09:02:45

    Comments

    I think once you are 18 you should be classified as an adult, I don't think that when you are 16,when you get in trouble with the law, you shouldn't be charged as an adult, you should be put on house arrest or be charged as a young offender or be warned, if it is their first act of crime.


    City:
    Vancouver
    Date:
    17 May 2002
    Time:
    22:50:45

    Comments

    When a young child goes out there without his/her parents/lawyers to commit these violent acts, then there is no need for a parent or a lawyer to be present when police has to find resolve.


    City:
    Date:
    23 May 2002
    Time:
    18:03:23

    Comments

    When I read some of these comments I become ill. Do you not know remember what it was like when you were 15 or 16?Teenagers know very well what they are doing and it pains me too see the lack punishment given to most young offenders. If children feared the law, they would not commit these acts. The lack of respect for authority (police officers, teachers, etc.) is so evident in today's society and it pains me to watch it. The young offenders act is a joke and most young people know this. ITS TIME FOR A CHANGE. For the record, I am not some elderly person ranting for you to role your eyes at, I am a high school student who is eighteen.


    City:
    Peterborough Ontario
    Date:
    29 Sep 2002
    Time:
    22:07:32

    Comments

    Considering young people have not yet developed a full understanding for jurisprudence, or how the law works, they should contact their parents or guardians prior to interrogation because they do not understand their rights and questioning them without them knowing is taking advantage of them.


    City:
    Williams Lake, BC
    Date:
    30 Oct 2002
    Time:
    00:22:49

    Comments


    City:
    Williams Lake, BC
    Date:
    30 Oct 2002
    Time:
    00:31:27

    Comments

    Myself being nineteen years old and committing a shoplifting crime when I was thirteen years old know that youths know what they are doing is wrong and still do it. I think that if youths committ adult crimes than they should be punished as adults as well and recieve the same rights as adults. If adults aren't permitted to have parents or a lawyer prior or during interrogation than either should youths. The Young Offenders Act is just a form of child protection and children know it. For example, three boys in canada aged 12, 14, and 15 murdered a older couple in their motorhome and wrote on the walls in their victims blood:"ha ha ha you will never catch me I am protected under the Young Offenders Act" CHILDREN KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING. Parents also should not be held accountable for their children's actions bsecause there is no form of discipline anymore without being charged with abuse or assault.


    City:
    Date:
    27 Nov 2002
    Time:
    01:59:26

    Comments

    I think a youth should have the right to requestand have legal representation and parent present doing a police iterrogation.


    City:
    Goderich
    Date:
    27 Nov 2002
    Time:
    13:43:09

    Comments

    Judge Hunter of Huron County is a Fucking Prick!

    Judge Hunter of Huron County is a Fucking Prick!


    City:
    whitby
    Date:
    01 Dec 2002
    Time:
    23:11:54

    Comments

    wow...how are you people thinking? adults are given legal council upon request. and what on earth does driving have to do with criminal responsibility? the two do not go hand in hand at all. However, youth should be given the rights of adults, but not sentenced the same way


    City:
    Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
    Date:
    02 Dec 2002
    Time:
    17:33:58

    Comments

    If the one being interrogated is a minor and viewed as a minor than the guardian/parent needs to be contacted prior to an interrogation or there is no one standing in as the parent or overseer of the youth in question. The youth has the right to speak to their guardian/parent and also with their lawyer. To side step these areas could lead to a charter challenge under sec 7 "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice."

    You have the right to not incriminate yourself. To understand the justice system. To have fair and equitable treatment. To the right to a defense.

    Thank you.


    City:
    toronto
    Date:
    10 Dec 2002
    Time:
    10:19:41

    Comments

    i thnk that this is funney


    City:
    St.Louis
    Date:
    05 Feb 2003
    Time:
    21:50:05

    Comments

    i think, as a young person myself, that we give up our rights to quickly simply because we're in a panic. I believe that everything we say before all our rights have been read shouldn't mean anything. i also believe that it should be against the law to question anyone, especially a minor without a parent or lawyer present. Kids at a young age aren't prepared for dealing with the law. They worry about dealing with peers and parents. They have no idea that you have certain rights and that they can lose some of those rights.


    City:
    charlottetown, pei
    Date:
    16 Feb 2003
    Time:
    18:29:09

    Comments

    Minors should definately be able to have a lawyer and a parent/guardian present with them. This does not mean that they're getting off easy, it's just that they are underage.


    City:
    Date:
    05 Mar 2003
    Time:
    16:04:58

    Comments

    occurs in private and hence is not widely known


    City:
    cannot be secret because the law requires its publication
    Date:
    05 Mar 2003
    Time:
    16:05:57

    Comments


    City:
    Wichita
    Date:
    10 Mar 2003
    Time:
    16:11:49

    Comments

    Children are easily decieved, manipulated and coaxed into saying things that they do not really mean nor that they may be able to comprehend. Law Enforcement should not be given a chance to lead a child into a trap so easily set. I have been in the situation before and just because you say you understand what your rights does not mean that you really understand what your rights are or how important they can really be. Children are spoonfed their entire lives to trust police officers, blindly. That is not a very good situation for a child to be in... trusting a law enforcement agent whose ultimate goal is to manipulate you into saying whatever he/she wants you to say.


    City:
    Grand Prairie, Tx.
    Date:
    14 Apr 2003
    Time:
    23:18:23

    Comments


    City:
    nanaimo
    Date:
    20 Apr 2003
    Time:
    02:24:20

    Comments

    Absolutely, the young person should have the right to consult with an adult. I have found that the police officers in this town do not read the youth their rights, but instead use intimidation and threats. Recently police officers descended on a private party of teenagers in a private home and ordered that the party disperse within 10 minutes or else they would arrest the 15 year old host. At the time there were about 20 youths who were turned away from the front door because they were not invited and they left. However, a neighbour did not like the idea that these youths were getting into their cars and called 911. When the police officers knocked on the front door, the 15 year old answered and went to step outside but was blocked by the officer. The host told the officer that he would talk to him outside, but the officer refused and stepped into the house even though he did not have permission. He forced the door to stay open and made accusatory remarks that he knew what was going on at the party. There were other officers in the backyard also with flashlights without the permission of the owner. The host was also told that his parent, would be contacted either that night or the next day because he was a minor. Neither was done. The host was shaken by this experience since there was no noise complaint and he was given permission by his parent who was also coming home at 11:00pm. I find that officers in Nanaimo on many other instances act impulsively and misuse their powers to intimidate youth. The youth are not given their rights and are presumed guilty just because they fit the description of "teenager". The host was neither drinking nor doing drugs, but yet he was treated like he was. I definitely think that police in this town get away with doing what they please and make their own intimidation tactics as they go along and disregarding the law.


    City:
    Date:
    20 May 2003
    Time:
    06:09:32

    Comments


    City:
    Wawota, Sask
    Date:
    04 Jun 2003
    Time:
    12:38:07

    Comments

    No! During interrogation they are stating what they did wrong. So therefor they don't need anybody else there to tell them what they did. If they get caught in a lie that is their own fault. They have to do it by themselves.


    City:
    greeley,colorado
    Date:
    24 Jul 2003
    Time:
    19:16:12

    Comments

    i think that at no matter what age you are, the police still project an aura about them that you are already guilty and that you must prove your innocence


    City:
    Mississuaga
    Date:
    25 Jul 2003
    Time:
    07:52:19

    Comments

    cops dont do there job and are very lazy and only go after the people that are doing good in life and they dont go after the drug dealers and if they do ,they take the drugs and smoke it ,and this has been done in front of me lots of times,constable todd of 11 division is one of them,they all hang out at tim hortons in streetsville,so i think cops suck the big one!!!


    City:
    birmingham, al/oakland, ca
    Date:
    26 Jul 2003
    Time:
    18:02:51

    Comments

    I think that all youths should have a parent or lawyer present during questioning because they are fearful and scared when appoarched by an officer of the law. They are easily persuaded to cooperate when offered some type of assistance by the police to free them if they talk.


    City:
    Iam from Sudan and live in Khartoum
    Date:
    31 Jul 2003
    Time:
    05:40:35

    Comments

    Yes any child SHOULD cosult with his parents(guardin)and his lawyer, also any teenager pending investigation or trial should be detained in seprate custodies


    City:
    Cocoa Beach
    Date:
    21 Sep 2003
    Time:
    17:37:25

    Comments

    My son who just turned 14 was recently interrogated by the police regarding a bomb threat. Someone overheard something he said. They then came to the school, put him in the police car, took him to the police station, read him his rights and questioned him for some time. We were called by the detective after the fact and even then we were not notified that they took him off school property. As it turns out, there was no way my son could have made the call of the bomb threat as he was in class at the time. He is an A student and very involved in school functions. He did not know enough to ask if he could call his mom first. I think they the school or police should have been required to notify me before they questioned him and scared the crap out of him. They kept telling him they did not believe him and that he was lying. This is very wrong!


    City:
    van-city
    Date:
    03 Oct 2003
    Time:
    16:39:39

    Comments

    i think PARENTS SHOULD BE ABLE TO HIT THEIR CHILDREN ALL THEY WANT---RANDOM HONGZ!!!!!!


    City:
    vancouver
    Date:
    03 Oct 2003
    Time:
    16:42:04

    Comments

    i think that the hongs are gay and should be beat down 4 being hongs


    City:
    vancouver
    Date:
    03 Oct 2003
    Time:
    16:43:13

    Comments

    hongz shouldnt be able to live in vancouver but stay at hongbille dam honz


    City:
    sdffs
    Date:
    03 Oct 2003
    Time:
    16:45:37

    Comments

    HONGZ!!@!


    City:
    sdffs
    Date:
    03 Oct 2003
    Time:
    16:45:40

    Comments

    HONGZ!!@!


    City:
    Pickering
    Date:
    14 Dec 2003
    Time:
    18:18:10

    Comments

    yes young persons should have the right to consult a parent and or lawyer prior to and during the interrogation because nobody knows what actually occurs during interrogations and there is too much coercion occuring in today's society


    City:
    Simcoe
    Date:
    28 Jan 2004
    Time:
    00:05:39

    Comments

    I think in certain situations that all persons involved should be questioned but also be given the chance to be heard and explain their side of the situation before a police report is filed with the Crown Attorney. I have been involved personally where a police officer repeatedly said that no charges would become of this situation. It was a mutal agreement. The police officer told us the only thing he could see become of this would be counselling for both minors involved. The police officer put so much pressure on us parents to make a decision that moment as to whether we should allow our child to make a statement as the police officer said he was going to the Crown Attorney with or without a statement from our child. We, trusting in what the police officer was saying that there would be no charges laid, we decided to let our child make a statement. And guess what, charges were laid. So my statement is do not let your child make a statement of any kind without legal representation. Our family has been torn apart and totally devasted because of this and now we may never be able to get it back again. Remember the words "I have no comment at this time"


    City:
    Toronto
    Date:
    16 Feb 2004
    Time:
    19:59:29

    Comments

    yes they should because they need to know if they might need help


    City:
    Yonkers
    Date:
    07 Jun 2004
    Time:
    11:41:42

    Comments

    Yes, they should. Intimidation, limited, if at all little knowledge of the law will only lead to coercion and duress.


    City:
    timmins ontario
    Date:
    15 Jun 2004
    Time:
    18:58:26

    Comments

    children should ALWAYS have an adult with them when being questioned by police officers due to the fact that the police tend to either mislead or flat out lie to minors and use scare tactics and bullyish behaivor if they don't get the answers they want to hear!!! This is from experience while dealing with our local police concerning an arguement between myself and my husband.


    City:
    Wichita,Kansas
    Date:
    20 Jun 2004
    Time:
    14:51:44

    Comments

    I believe that anyone should have the right to consult to an attorney before interrogation, especially minors. Interrogation is meant to break the person. Police use mind games meant to get "evidence" out of a person to later use against them.


    City:
    Lake Zurich, IL
    Date:
    13 Jul 2004
    Time:
    22:59:53

    Comments

    Every reasonable effort should be made to contact a minors legal guardian(s). Minors should have special protections.


    City:
    Vancouver, Canada
    Date:
    07 Oct 2004
    Time:
    21:06:58

    Comments

    We have to be fair here. Young people should be punished for their wrongdoings and should never be protected for doing something wrong as they can be used by adults to commit high profile offences on their behalf especially between the age of 12 and 14 when they are biologically capable but technically protected.

    Having said that, an interrogation is not punishment and should never be treated or misused to be such. It is a step, and only a tool that assist in finding out if a person did or did not commit the alleged offence.

    We must bear in mind that Not all allegations are true. We must also bear in mind that where allegations are malicious some significant planning and rehersal is done to frame the subject.

    In these cases, no evidence exists therefore the prosecution is likely to depend on the interrogation further proceedings.

    Also not that, the police/detective is trying to obtain an admission or trap the person in indirect questions that one may answer without full understanding of the question. Also note that the police may use mind control sedatives that may very well impact the life of the accused.

    In view of all these shortcomings, it is must be mandatory that a person should not waive his or her rights under any circumstances.

    Most people waive their rights without realizing the danger or that they are in fact waiving human rights which does not make sense.

    An interrogator may say, "Do you wish to talk to your lawyer or not".

    A person having committed an offense is likely to call a lawyer. An innocent person, is likely to take their innocence for granted not knowing that the interrogation is Never designed to prove innocence but to prove guilty.

    If one has never had any police dealings, they may be in for horse ride. No legal recourse would ever compensate such an odeal.

    There must be a standard way of advising intergationees of their rights and what they mean before any interrogations take place.

    A person must be treated as innocent until proven guilty. The process of "proving" a person guilty should not be punitive. You cannot force, or cheat a person into making statements they don't understand and call that proof.

    The biggest problem with this is that it promotes crime. You may force an innocent person into prison leaving the criminals out.

    You may also encourage malicious accusers to get away with malice.

    Worse still you have criminilized an innocent person who will find it hard to see the legal world and may end up knowing nothing but crime-crime-crime.

    Interrogations are not punishment - do not punish someone because another person claimed that person is a criminal with no evidence. That reporter may be the biggest criminal in the world. Remember, a good person is a BAD person in the company of the Bad. This world is not fair. Don't take every claim/report to be truth nor dismiss any report as a lie. Proceed without bias. That is JUSTICE.


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Stephen R. Biss, Barrister & Solicitor

470 Hensall Circle, Suite 303
Mississauga, Ontario
L5A 3V4

905-273-3322  or 1-877-273-3322

 


Advertisement. Any legal opinions expressed at this site relate to the Province of Ontario, Canada only. If you reside or carry on business in any other jurisdiction please consult a lawyer, solicitor, or attorney in your own jurisdiction. WARNING: All information contained herein is provided for the purpose of providing basic information only and should not be construed as formal legal advice. The author disclaims any and all liability resulting from reliance upon such information. You are strongly encouraged to seek and retain professional legal advice before relying upon any of the information contained herein.