Young Person Sentenced to Maximum Under the YCJA for Terrorism Offences
Belleville (Ontario) – February 9, 2022 – Today, in the Ontario Court of Justice sitting as a youth justice court, a young person was sentenced to two years in custody followed by one year of community supervision, the maximum allowable under the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA). The youth, who cannot be named under the Act, pleaded guilty to four terrorism offences on July 28, 2020, and to a breach of his bail conditions thereby acknowledging responsibility for his actions. (PPSC - News Release - Young Person Pleads Guilty to Four Terrorism Offences (ppsc-sppc.gc.ca)).
At the outset of the sentencing hearing, PPSC counsel had made an application for an adult sentence but advised the Court that this position would be re-assessed after hearing evidence from witnesses. Based upon the ongoing assessment of evidence concerning the young person’s potential for rehabilitation, the Crown determined that the application for an adult sentence was no longer appropriate in light of the legal tests contained in the YCJA and withdrew the application on January 28, 2022. The Crown joined with defence counsel in recommending that the court impose the maximum youth sentence with no credit for the three years of custody already served. The Crown enumerated many factors that led to this decision, which include that the young person was 15 years old at the time of the offences, and, based upon the reports received, his strong family support, his keen commitment to educational studies during his three years of custody, his positive behavior and participation in rehabilitative programs and counselling, including participation in cultural and spiritual counselling, as well as his recent diagnosis with a degenerative medical condition. During this process, the Crown consulted the Royal Canadian Mounted Police who recognized the appropriateness of such a sentence.
PPSC Prosecutor Tom Lemon said, “Mindful of the purposes of the YCJA and the principles of sentencing identified in s. 38, and in light of his assessed progress documented in numerous reports over the past three years, a three-year youth sentence will adequately hold the young person accountable and promote his rehabilitation and reintegration into society. This youth sentence, including the additional supervision that will be provided, will reduce the risk of recidivism, thus ensuring better protection of the public.” The judge, in imposing sentence, agreed that the joint submission satisfied the applicable sentencing principles and was appropriate.
The Public Prosecution Service of Canada is a national organization responsible for prosecuting offences under federal jurisdiction in a manner that is free of any improper influence and that respects the public interest. The PPSC is also responsible for providing prosecution-related advice to law enforcement agencies across Canada.
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