Jonathan Wamback attacked by a gang of youths at age fifteen and spent three months in a coma and is still in rehabilitation


Young Offenders Act Replaced

Newmarket Ontario - Thursday, April 3 2003 - by: Joseph Wamback


Legislation replacing the Young Offenders Act comes into force yesterday. Contained within it are serious weaknesses that have been drawn to the attention of the Government of Canada. They are drawn to your attention below so that you may, should you choose, place them in your Criminal Justice file and note, as the legislation is applied in the courts and they become apparent, that the Government was forewarned but chose to ignore them.


  • Parole will be now automatically available to convicted violent young offenders already serving light youth sentences.

  • Maximum incarceration for manslaughter is being reduced to 2 years, second degree murder to 6 years with no mandatory rehabilitation programs

  • Aggravated assault, rape, armed robbery and firearms crimes are not defined as violent offences, and only those that are subjectively determined, in separate hearings to cause or create substantial risk of serious bodily harm are considered in making Key decisions under the act. Psychological harm is not considered!

  • Adult sentencing can not be considered and is not automatic, unless the offender has been convicted of a subjectively determined „serious violent offence‰ AND has on at least 2 previous separate occasions been convicted of 2 other, subjectively determined „Serious Violent Offences‰. The logistics of our court system make this virtually impossible.

  • If adult sentencing is given then probation and conditional sentencing are approved options.

  • The bill is filled with subjective characterizations, convoluted references and is 3 times longer than the existing YOA that will result in a unanimously predicted, slower, more complicated, more expensive process that will deny Justice for both offender and victim alike

  • The number of crimes for which multiple hearings are required has been dramatically increased.

  • Age limits remain unchanged, leaving a dangerous legislative gap for treatment options for young children at risk while failing to emphasize public safety resulting from repeat and violent crimes by violent 16 & 17 year olds.

  • There is no mention of deterrence or denunciation anywhere in the legislation, effectively denying protection for society.

  • No mention of new group crimes such as swarming, gang crimes, no automatic consecutive sentencing, or bail reform.

  • Publication of names of convicted violent criminals remain unchanged and is more restrictive than the YOA due to newly imposed subjective determinations.

  • ·No mandatory rehabilitation even for the most violent or repeat offender.

  • Release of violent offenders is not contingent on successful completion of rehabilitation programs and no mandatory procedural protections for victims.

  • Consent of victims is not required for not laying criminal charges and the long held right of citizens to lay private information or charges is now extinguished. A serious removal of and an attack on victims rights and individual liberties of Canadians.

  • Consent of victims not required for extra judicial or restorative justice programs.

  • Restorative justice programs can be run by offender based organizations.

  • Extra Judicial measures ignore victims and victim‚s rights and convictions are not held in abeyance until completion of community service orders

  • The bill prevents a court from imposing a victim restitution order against parents or guardians if they are determined negligent in supervision.

  • New federal guidelines to crowns will remove breach of recognizance from the category of an indictable offense, effectively eliminating consequence for defying Judicial orders, and teaching Canada‚s children that crime does pay

Joseph Wamback

  Department of Justice Canada, Young Offenders Act page
  Bliss, Stephen R. The Young Offenders Act - Parent's Page web site
  Canadian Legal Information Institute Young Offenders Act
  Harris, David Allan B.A., LL.B. A layperson's guide to the young offenders act and the youth criminal justice act website
  Bagha, Zenab, Young Offenders Act beyond fixing, say critics, 2000, Toronto Globe and Mail
  Inner strength award, Guinnes Honour Roll, March 14, 2002 Canada NewsWire
  Guest on Cross Country Checkup, April 30, 2000, CBC radio
  Hudson, Kellie, Victims of youth violence want tougher national law 400,000 signatures collected by families on petition fighting Young Offenders Act, January 11, 2000, Toronto Star


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