Were "consequences" meaningful?

Niagara Falls, Ontario - Wednesday, July 16, 2003 - by: Joe Hueglin


Under the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA) the stated
"purpose of sentencing is to hold a young person accountable for the offence committed by imposing meaningful consequences and promoting the rehabilitation and reintegration of the young person."

3. "Ensuring Fairness and Proportionality in Sentencing"

  A 17 year old in possession of three kinds of drugs and cash from sales, after resisting search and fleeing, was arrested last October in Niagara Falls at an intersection where a secondary school is located.
  Upon conviction the prosecution asked for a six month sentence, some in secure custody, the defence three. The presiding judge, imposed 90 days in open custody and 18 months probation.
  This question must be asked. Is 90 days in open custody a "meaningful consequence" for someone who, in possessing cocaine and magic mushrooms in addition to marijuana, is clearly not an amateur, who has been selling, having $1050.00 in cash receipts $650.00 being in his cocaine cache, and who was apprehended adjacent to a school?
  In that the opinions of prosecution and defence so the conclusion must be drawn that the judge saw himself as following the intent of this Act which came into law only in April after being forced through both the House and the Senate.
  A prediction, if this be a precedent setting case, and by its timing it is, the Youth Criminal Justice Act will soon come be held in as low repute as the Young Offenders Act it replaced.


Joe Hueglin

  A personal note:
The Secondary School, Stamford Collegiate, is a fifteen minute walk from my home. I know because I walked it every day while teaching there for ten years prior to retirement.


Ricciuto, Tony, Minor sentenced for trafficking major drugs, (PDF) July 10, 2003, The Niagara Falls Review



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