Cases & Decisions

BVN & BWP v R [General Deterrence & the YCJA]

Court: Supreme Court of Canada, 2006

JFCY intervened at the Supreme Court of Canada on these two cases which were heard together, appealing decisions from the Courts of Appeal in British Columbia and Manitoba. The cases involved sentencing appeals in which the issue was whether general deterrence was a factor to be considered in sentencing a young person under the YCJA.  General deterrence means that the sentence is to serve as a way of discouraging other people from committing the same crime as the young person before the court. Justice for Children and Youth argued that general deterrence plays no part, either philosophically, legislatively or at international law in the sentencing of young persons under the YCJA and that applying deterrence to the sentencing of young people would undermine the sentencing principles expressed in the YCJA.

On June 22, 2006 the Supreme Court of Canada delivered their judgment. The court held that the deliberate omission to include deterrence in the Youth Criminal Justice Act indicated that Parliament chose not to incorporate that principle in the youth sentencing regime.  Accordingly, neither specific nor general deterrence is to be considered under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

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