June 26, 2006
Supreme Court of Canada says deterrence not a factor that may be considered under the Youth Criminal Justice Act
Last week the Supreme Court of Canada ruled unanimously that the Youth Criminal Justice Act, as written, does not allow judges to increase a sentence for the purposes of deterring youth crime. The Court held that the legislature deliberately removed general deterrence or denunciation from the factors that may be considered by judges when sentencing young people choosing instead to focus on rehabilitation and tailoring sentences according to individual offenders. The Court was reviewing two cases involving manslaughter and assault causing bodily harm respectively. One of the decisions on appeal was a B.C. decision where the judge considered general deterrence as a “minor factor”. The SCC found she was wrong to do so.
Conservative Justice Minister Vic Toews responded by criticizing the legislation and vowing to review the Act to ensure that accountability and responsibility for serious crimes is enforced. What form that will take remains to be seen. For a recent article on the subject click HERE.
Posted by BCCLB at June 26, 2006 11:23 PM