I have a very interesting topic today. It’s whether a young person that is a person under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, who’s just over 12 or under 18, because that’s the definition of young person, whether that person can be tried as an adult under certain circumstances. And yes, under certain circumstances they can. The benefit of the Youth Criminal Justice Act is, you know, for people under 18, we generally and in the vast vast majority if not 95% of cases if not higher, we treat them as a young person so for offences they fit they face far less times in custody or jail and, and we tend to avoid custody as much as possible and the maximum periods of custody are not long either for the normal youth criminal justice case for a young person. Now how does this work where the Crown wants to treat them as an adult? Well, I give you an example. I’m giving you an example of a case I did which I thought was inordinately unfair. I fortunately won the case. I had a client a few years back just a few years ago, who I won’t tell you the county or the facts or anything like that, but he was charged with sexual assault, which occurred when he was 16 involving a person who was just over four years younger than him, so it was just kind of under the age of consent just by a smidgen. And the person the complainant came forward, you know, 15 years later, and the complainant said this person had sex with me which I agreed to, but it was illegal for a number of years. And then it became legal by the way and they were both the same sex at the time. And so the crown gets a hold of that case, and I thought, well, he’ll be tried, you know, it’s a pretty, not morally terrible case. It’s not like a 50 year old man having sex with a 12 year old boy for example. It’s like a 16 year old, 12 year old it’s still wrong, still under the age of consent, but kind of at the lesser moral end of the spectrum, you know, obviously. So the crown gets a hold this case and I was the trial crown and I was I represented this this person who’s now an adult. And they say we’re seeking an adult sentence I go, Oh my god, are you serious? And they said, Yeah, and they’re allowed to do that. They’re totally allowed to do that. Note any my colleagues who heard this that this was just reprehensible on the crown’s part. It’s their right but usually  have exercised discretion in these things. So now my client’s instead of facing maybe a very short period of custody, or maybe even no custody, given the facts and given it happened years ago, and given it’s not totally morally reprehensible, although illegal and wrong I admit that, we know that, he’s facing like at least a three year sentence, if not more in jail in adult jail, and he was literally losing his mind over this because we had a lot to lose. He had a lot to lose. So it totally backfired on the crown, though, because now I was allowed to have a prelimiary inquiry and I was able to show all the inconsistencies inherent in probabilities bad character of this other person with serious motives to lie, we fortunately won the trial but there’s an example of where they can seek an adult sentence. So in other words, if you commit a crime as a young person say even few years ago, now you’re over 18, the crown in their absolute discretion can seek an adult sentence. I think that’s a very unfair system, but that’s our system. Now, there are also provisions under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, which tend to be applied appropriately. Not always, in my view, but if a youth is charged with murder, for example, and they’re close to 18, there’s an example or 17. There’s an example where the crown might apply to try them as an adult, maybe that’s appropriate if they’re close to 18 as an example, but I’m just giving an example where it’s totally unfair in another situation. Unfortunately, we won that case, but unfortunately, it backfired because the only reason we won that case is the preliminary inquiry give me a chance to kick the legs out from under the complainant to show that they were lying and ultimately the judge found that they were a complete liar. So we completely exposed the case. If I hadn’t had the opportunity to a preliminary inquiry, I think it would have been a much closer calling. I’m not totally convinced we would have won the case because I had all this great evidence to use, which was there was no question in the judge’s mind that the complainant, the victim lied because they had motives to lie which came to fruition at the trial and the preliminary hearing. So there you have it a little short primer on you know how the youth criminal justice system in certain circumstances the crown can apply to treat the person as an adult, and years later can keep seeking adult sentence when you committed a crime 20 years ago as say, a 14 year old and now that have you sentenced as an adult. Is that fair? I’ll leave it up to you.

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