Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Thesis Format

Monograph

Degree

Master of Studies in Law

Program

Law

Supervisor

Dr. Christopher Sherrin

Abstract

This study examined judicial decisions, post the 2012 amendments, to determine what drives the accountability analysis under section 72(1)(b). I asked if accountability was equated to retribution as reasoned by the Ontario Court of Appeal, in R v AO? Additionally, has the introduction of specific deterrence and denunciation, under section 38(2)(f) had an effect on the accountability analysis? The qualitative results revealed three sets of cases. In each set weight was given to retribution in the accountability analysis. In some cases, retribution was given greater weight to the rehabilitative needs of the young person and in other cases the rehabilitative needs were given equal to or greater weight to retribution. In the first and second group of cases, the courts did not make explicit reference to specific deterrence and denunciation whereas in the third group the addition of specific deterrence and denunciation has had an effect on the accountability inquiry.

Summary for Lay Audience

Accountability is an undefined concept in the Youth Criminal Justice Act’s Preamble and as such it is within the courts’ jurisdiction to define its meaning. This thesis poses the question: What does it meant to hold a young person accountable for their offending behavior when they engage in behavior that is egregious enough to warrant an adult sentence?

Section 72 is the legislative provision that governs whether a youth justice court can impose an adult sentence on a young person. I explored judicial decisions to determine what drives the accountability inquiry under section 72. In my analysis, I asked if accountability was equated to retribution as reasoned by the Ontario Court of Appeal, in R v AO? R v AO is an Ontario Court of Appeal decision that reasoned accountability, under section 72, is equated to the adult sentencing principle, retribution.

In 2012, the YCJA was amended to include specific deterrence and denunciation as sentencing principles that a youth court justice “may” consider under section 38. I also asked whether the introduction of specific deterrence and denunciation under section 38(2)(f) had an effect on the accountability analysis under section 72?

The qualitative results revealed three sets of cases. In all three groups weight was given to retribution in the accountability analysis. However, the weight given to retribution differed. In some cases, retribution was given greater weight to the rehabilitative needs of the young person and in other cases the rehabilitative needs of the young person were given equal to or greater weight to retribution. In the first and second group of cases, the courts did not make explicit reference to specific deterrence and denunciation whereas in the third group we see the addition of specific deterrence and denunciation having an effect on the accountability inquiry.

Available for download on Monday, April 01, 2024

Included in

Criminal Law Commons

Share

COinS