What is the Youth Criminal Justice Act?
Do I Need a Youth Court Lawyer?
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Interrogation & Statement
The police may have telephoned you and asked you or your child or adolescent to attend at the police station to answer questions about a criminal law matter. The police officer has reassured you that no juvenile charges are currently pending. They simply want you or your teen to clear up a few things for them to complete their youth criminal justice investigation of someone else. No, they say, you do not need a criminal law lawyer, this is a routine matter.
The usual response of a parent is to commence their own interrogation of the young person. The parent is horribly embarrassed and wants the police to know that the parent supports the police investigation.
That is a dangerous response. Did you realize that police can make good use of that interrogation to aid in their prosecution of your child? Did you realize you may be a witness against your child? Did you realize that you may receive a subpoena to testify against your child?
Your child has let you down as a parent. Her or his behaviour has become unmanageable. He or she is not listening to you. The school Principal is exasperated and ready to suspend or expel your child. Children's Aid Society can't help your adolescent because you are a good parent. Your doctor and the psychologist haven't got through. Your child is drifting aimlessly through not very good friends, including some with a juvenile court record.
Suddenly, he or she is arrested while at large facing other outstanding Youth Court charges. Alternatively, he or she is arrested for a youth criminal justice offence that is very serious, such as robbery. You are tempted to refuse to take the young person home. And then you get a phone call from Duty Counsel at the local Youth Criminal Justice Court begging you to attend Court and be a Surety.
What should you do? Should you leave your child to be exposed to all sorts of negative influences and abuse in jail?
Criminal Record For Life
You've been to Youth Court with a "young offender'' son or daughter. The police had promised you probation or extra-judicial measures. You brought your child to Juvenile Court and spoke to duty counsel. The Justice of the Peace adjourned the case three weeks after you were handed a copy of "Disclosure". The Crown offered a guilty plea to a reduced charge or alternatively the Crown has suggested extra-judicial measures. A reduced charge could be something like a guilty plea to theft instead of robbery. Someone has told you that the penalty will simply be probation and that the record will be erased at age 18. The only Youth Court defence lawyer you have spoken to is duty counsel. You have been unable to get Legal Aid.
Should your son or daughter simply plead guilty and "get it over with"? Did you realize that the police and governments can keep and use the record against your child 10 years later, 20 years later, and much longer?