Thursday, February 01, 2007

Tories To Undermine Role of Judge

The war on judges looks set to enter a new phase:
The government is considering possible changes to the Youth Criminal Justice Act that would sharply increase the number of young offenders sent to adult jails, according to a memo obtained by CTV News.


The memo sketches a "preferred option" that would "give the Crown discretion to use adult criminal justice procedures for youths aged 16 and 17 who are charged with murder, attempted murder, manslaughter or aggravated sexual assault."


Judges currently decide whether young offenders should be charged as adults; the option outlined in the memo would strip them of that power.


The confidential note also assumes that about 80 per cent of youth charged with those offences would be referred to the adult criminal justice system, and "a significant amount would receive life sentences."

"It would be a very dramatic change and perhaps, in regard to adult sentencing, the most dramatic change we would have seen in a century in Canada," said Bala.

I don't want to defend murderers and sexual predators, but there is some validity to the notion that each case has its own set of circumstances. In hindering judicial discretion, the judge is powerless to address the nuances of each case. This fact is particularly concerning as it relates to minors, because the issue or possible rehabiliation is more pronounced. I see this latest move as ideologically driven, the notion that the courts are run by liberal judges, who need their power curbed.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I do not think the decision on whether a young person is sentenced as an adult should be based on political factors. Truth is the crown prosecutors will be faced with public pressure on certain highly publicized cases to charge the youth as an adult, irregardless of the facts.

I should also point out that the one group who would be most affected by this change in the law would not actually be able to participate in the democratic process to determine whether this law should be enacted. They cannot vote, they do not have the rights of adults, yet they are to receive the punishment of adults.

Gayle

Manuel said...

Murder is Murder, I don't care how old you are, and I don't care if they rot for the rest of their lives for their crime, as it should be since I'm not for the death sentence.

burlivespie said...

on the surface, it does strike a cord. Murder or serious sexual assault cases shouldn't be left in the hands of someone who would link it automatically to the lowest precedent. However, as Steve said the crimes of a 16-17 year old may be of a totally different nature, when each taken into its own account. You can probably closer link the accused's behaviour to a recent incident or life trauma -- not that there's much justification for murder or serious sexual assault.
CTV reporter said he expected this to strike a major cord with victims' rights groups, but also that this could be one of those Harpor balloons he's floating to show 'We're doing something even if it doesn't get done because of this damn liberal system'... I view this as the Cons trying desperately to change the channel. No greenhouse gases emitted by little Johnny Hackblade when he's stirring in the box.

evans said...

Kill the little bastards or make the little angels live with the judge who sentenced them.

john said...

"the notion that the courts are run by liberal judges, who need their power curbed.

... shame on them, we've been getting results with the current approach.

Steve V said...

"shame on them, we've been getting results with the current approach."

You mean the drop in overall crime, as well as violent crime. I agree, if it ain't broke....

Miles Lunn said...

I think the problem I have as too often the Tories bundle these with more minor crimes as they've done on other bills. I also think that while the vast majority of murders and rapists over 16 should be tried as adults, there may be exceptions, so lets at least leave it to the judges. Contrary to what some Tories say, 99% of the time sentences are reasonable. It just so happens the 1% that are unreasonably low get all the media attention, since the media loves dramatic stories, which is why the public thinks sentences are too soft when they aren't.

In addition to end this idea Liberals are soft on crime, we back in the 90s significantly toughened the young offenders act, while Mulroney I believe loosened it, if I am not mistaken.