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Preparation for Sentencing under the Youth Criminal Justice Act


One parent's experience:

In particular, the "Preparation for Sentencing under The Young Offenders Act" checklist you developed was instrumental. We used this document to prepare a profile of my Son and his accomplishments, disciplinary actions taken by his Parents etc. The Duty Counsel complimented us on this document as well as my Son's appearance and preparation. I can honestly say that this helped tremendously when dealing with the Crown Prosecutor who decided to allow my Son to complete hours of sports activity and today, the charges were dropped because he successfully completed the diversion requirements."

This checklist is designed to help parents and young persons prepare for sentencing under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. Download and print this page. Fill it out and bring it to your lawyer. Keep all this information confidential. 

Warning: Notwithstanding the above comment by a parent, it is essential that you get legal advice from private counsel or duty counsel before you show this document to anyone, especially the Crown Prosecutor. Charges imposed under the Youth Criminal Justice Act will probably remain on file with the police and affect the young person for LIFE. 

You can find out more information by visiting Sentences Imposed on Young Offenders.

1. Information about the Young Person:




Date of Birth:




Performance at School:

Sports History:



Employment History:



Community Organization History:


Stresses at time of Offence:

2. Information about the Parents:



Phone: (Home and Work)

Father's Employment:



Phone (Home and Work:)

Mother's Employment:




Parental Separation History:




Parental Stresses at time of Offence:




3. Involvement by Children's Aid Society (if any)

Which Society:

Social Worker:



In care since:


4. What clothing will the young person be wearing to Court?

School Uniform:

Suit, Dress, Tie (similar to church or wedding)

No cap, gum, walkman

No noisy or obnoxious friends

What to Wear to Youth Criminal Justice Court in Canada


5. Does the young person have a good general character and reputation in the community?

Character Reference Letters from:

Priest or Minister:

Sports Coach

School Principal:

Employer or Past Employer:

Community Organization (eg. Scouts):

Old Family Friends


The letters should describe how long the reference has known the young person and in what capacity. The young person should personally request each letter. The young person should advise the reference of some details of the offence and his or her remorse. The reference should indicate whether the criminal behaviour is out of character for the young person and give examples of contrasting behaviour. The reference may wish to express confidence in the young person's future. The reference letter can be addressed either to the defence lawyer or to the Court.

A "To Whom It May Concern" letter expressing no knowledge of the offence or no details of the length of time the reference has known the young person is not very effective.

References may wish to appear in person to give evidence on sentencing.

 How to Write a Character Reference Letter for Use in Youth Court


6.Have you explored the possibility of alternative measures or extra-judicial measures with your lawyer?


7. Have you discussed exactly what offences the young person is guilty of with your lawyer? Please don't rely on the police for this advice. They have a conflict of interest.

What volunteer work/community service work could the young person do in the community? How will this work look on a future resume?


8. Have you retained a lawyer to negotiate the best possible deal with the Crown Attorney?

Guilty Plea to Which Charges?

What facts will be read in?

Does the young person agree with those facts?

Are there important mitigating facts which must be proven by the young person?

What charges will be withdrawn?

Will the Crown ask for a pre-disposition report?

Will the Crown ask for custody/jail?

Can there be a joint submission by Crown and defence?


9. Should there be a psychological assessment?

Psychological needs and condition:

Drug abuse?

Alcohol abuse?

Identified by whom?

History of treatment to date:



Reports from previous assessors and treatment:

Should the Court order a psychological assessment?

Is a private psychological or social work assessment more appropriate?

Who will do the assessment?

How much will it cost and who will pay?


10. What documents can the young person bring to Court to assist?

Academic Records:

School Awards:

Community Service Awards:

Sports Awards:


11.What is the young person's prior criminal record?


Cautions and warnings from police:

Alternative Measures:

Youth Court Record: (Date, Judge, Court, Offence, Sentence, Was probation successfully completed)





12. What discipline measures has the family already taken in response to this offence?





Has there been any improvement in behaviour?


13. What are the young person's plans for the future?

School, university:


Long range career:


Employment (full-time, part-time, or summer):








Non-association with __________________



14. Parents' suggestions for probation order:


Obedience to Rules of the home (how will they be promulgated?)

Community service


Weapons prohibition



15. Have you considered how long the Youth Court recordwill last?

Impact on future employment?

Impact on future education?

Impact on travel or school in the United States?

Have you discussed with your lawyer how you will make sure in several years that the young person's record, fingerprints, and photograph (including acquittals and offences withdrawn) will be purged from the R.C.M.P. and local police computer systems?


Contact your lawyer for help on sentencing:

Stephen R. Biss, B.A., LL.B.

Barrister and Solicitor

470 Hensall Circle
Mississauga, Ontario
L5A 3V4



The actual sentence imposed in any case will depend upon a number of factors. Please consult your lawyer so that you can carefully prepare for sentencing. 
Return to "Sentences Imposed on Young Offenders"
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