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Public Opinion On Youth Violence And The Increment Of Youth Offences

Decent Essays
Despite negative public opinion regarding youth violence and the increment of youth offences, the Canadian judiciary has unequivocally supported the rehabilitative and re-integrative approach of the YCJA in plethora of cases discussed below. The situation is fostered because this rehabilitative approach seems to be uniformly shared amongst most of the provinces, notably, in less violent cases or violent cases involving first time offenders. However, sentencing has mostly differed in cases involving serious violent offences like murder etc. especially because of the existence of youth prior records relating to violent offences along with psychological assessment on the probabilities of recidivism. These factors support incarceration as…show more content…
Section 39(1) (a) of the YCJA, which represents one of the four gateways to a custodian sentence, provides that “[a] youth court shall not commit a young person to custody unless… (a) the young person has committed a violent offence.” The Court of Appeal, in a separate decisions, upheld both the sentences, holding that the sentencing judges did not err when they determined that C.D.’s arson to property offence and C.D.K’s dangerous driving offence were “violent offences” within the meaning of s. 39(1) (a). While allowing the appeal, and appreciating the fact that the term “violent offence” has a spectrum of meanings and that it can be applied to property as well as to persons, held, that in the context of YCJA the term “violent offence” should be narrowly construed. The Court based its decision on the object and scheme of the YCJA, and the intention of the Parliament in enacting the same. The Court observed “that the YCJA was designed, in part, to reduce over-reliance on custodial sentences for young offenders. Moreover, where two interpretations affect the liberty of an accused, the one more favourable to the accused should be adopted. A narrow interpretation of “violent offence” means that the definition must exclude pure property crimes. The Court further noted that a harm-based definition of “violent offence” is preferable to a force based definition because it avoids the flaws associated with a
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