Virtual Library of Newspaper Articles

The Globe and Mail

Court strikes down part of youth justice act

The Globe and Mail, Canada's largest national newspaper, By RICHARD BLACKWELL, March 25, 2006

Ontario's top court has struck down sections of the Youth Criminal Justice Act that forced some young offenders to prove that they shouldn't get adult sentences.

Three judges of the Ontario Court of Appeal said yesterday that those rules breach the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and that it should be up to the prosecutor to make the case that a serious youth crime should draw an adult sentence.

The judges also came out strongly in support of Canada's separate justice system for youth -- a message welcomed by activists who were concerned about pre-election calls from some politicians to have more young people tried and sentenced as adults.

Yesterday's ruling dealt with the case of a young man -- he can't be identified -- who got involved in a brawl at a Hamilton, Ont., shopping mall when he was 17.

He punched another young man in the head, jumped on him when he fell, and punched him several more times. The victim died of his injuries.

The accused pleaded guilty in Ontario Superior Court, but when it came time for sentencing, his lawyers successfully challenged some sections of the Youth Criminal Justice Act as unconstitutional. The Crown appealed and the case then went to the Court of Appeal.

The key issue involves sections of the act that say that anyone between 14 and 17 who is convicted of murder, attempted murder, manslaughter or aggravated sexual assault can be given a longer, adult sentence.

The prosecution doesn't have to prove that the longer sentence is warranted, the law says, but the defence must persuade the court if it disagrees.

Essentially, the act says "an adult sentence is presumed unless the young person can satisfy the court otherwise," Mr. Justice Stephen Goudge wrote in the appeals court decision.

That requirement goes against Section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which promises everyone fundamental justice, he said in upholding the lower court decision to strike down those sections of the act.

He came to a similar conclusion on the issue of whether young offenders must persuade a court that their identity should be concealed after sentencing. Again, the law is wrong to place that onus on the defendant rather than the prosecution, Judge Goudge wrote.

Yesterday's ruling puts Ontario in line with an earlier decision of the Quebec Court of Appeal. However, British Columbia's top court ruled the opposite way a few weeks ago.

In a case involving a 17-year-old who killed an older man with a baseball bat, a panel of three B.C. Court of Appeal judges said it is reasonable to require a convicted young person to demonstrate that he or she should be sentenced as a youth.

Because of the conflicting rulings, the issue may eventually make its way to the Supreme Court of Canada for a final decision.

A spokesman for the Ontario Attorney-General said the government is reviewing yesterday's decision "with respect to the possibility of an appeal to the Supreme Court."

While the Ontario court's decision on the sentencing provisions in the act is important, the judge's comments on the value of the entire youth justice system is even more fatal, said Cheryl Milne, a lawyer for the Canadian Foundation for Children, Youth and the Law, which intervened in the case.

Judge Goudge wrote that having a separate system for young people "is fundamental to our societal notion of justice."

National Post

Father's suicide becomes rallying cry for fairness in court

April 1, 2000

BRANDON, Man. - Thirty-five years ago today, Lillian White gave birth to her youngest son. Yesterday, she knelt down and kissed his coffin at his graveside.

Darrin White committed suicide two weeks ago in Prince George, B.C., after a judge ordered him to pay his estranged wife twice his take-home pay in child support and alimony each month.

In death he has become a poignant symbol of family courts gone awry, of a divorce system run by people with closed minds, hard hearts and deaf ears.

Teen depression on the increase in U.K.- teen suicide statistics

Teen depression on the increase

More and More teens are becoming depressed. The numbers of young people suffering from depression in the last 10 years has risen worryingly, an expert says.

BBC, UK, August 3, 2004

Government statistics suggest one in eight adolescents now has depression.

Unless doctors recognise the problem, Read More ..uld slip through the net, says Professor Tim Kendall of the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health.

Guidelines on treating childhood depression will be published next year. Professor Kendall says a lot Read More ..eds to be done to treat the illness.

Family Conflict and Suicide Rates Among Men

by Dr. Hazel McBride Ph.D. June 9-10, 1995

Violence and Abuse within the Family: The Neglected Issues

A public hearing sponsored by The Honourable Senator Anne C. Cools on June 9-10, 1995 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Transcript of Dr. Hazel McBride's presentation on the relationship between family conflict and suicide rates among men.


Reasons Why Young Men Commit Suicide

PA News, U.S.A., By John von Radowitz, Science Correspondent, September 28, 2003

Broken marriages, living a single life and lack of income are the three factors chiefly to blame for a surge in suicides among young men, a new study has shown.

Suicide rates in England and Wales have doubled for men under 45 since 1950, but declined among women and older age groups of both sexes.

Researchers trying to discover why found that between 1950 and 1998 there were worsening trends for many suicide risk factors.

These included marital break up, birth and marriage declines, unemployment and substance abuse.

But those most associated with young men aged 25 to 34 were divorce, fewer marriages, and increases in income inequality.

National Post logo

Quebec men more likely to commit suicide than women

Rate is especially high among baby boomers, statistics reveal. Read More ..

Centre for Suicide Prevention

Centre for Suicide Prevention 

The Centre for Suicide Prevention has three main branches:

The Suicide Information & Education Collection (SIEC) is a special library and resource centre providing information on suicide and suicidal behaviour.

The Suicide Prevention Training Programs (SPTP) branch provides caregiver training in suicide intervention, awareness, bereavement, crisis management and related topics. Suicide Prevention

Research Projects (SPRP)  advocates for, and supports research on suicide and suicidal behaviour.

invisible suicides

Invisible Suicides

StatsCan recently reported on a 10% increase in suicides. But StatsCan persists in ignoring the group of Canadians at greatest risk for suicide, as do the media and professional reports.

Suicide is a microcosm for those most under stress and most at risk of unresolved crisis in society. Suicides may logically be categorized as 100% citizens of Canada, and then as 79% male. The most critical measure of depression - suicide - is counted overwhelmingly in male corpses. For over 23 years widespread media and professional attention concentrated on 12,500 AIDS deaths, compared to little concern with 92,000 suicides.

Presentation to the Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs of the House of Commons concerning Bill C-68 - Firearms Act.

by Brian L. Mishara, Ph.D. Past President, Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention and Professor of Psychology at the Université du Québec a Montréal.   Read More ..