Youth Criminal Act in Canada

To guarantee justice for children and youth who are caught in a crime, Canada has passed a number of Acts. The Youth Offenders Act (YOA), the Juvenile Delinquents Act (JDA), and the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA) are among the Acts. (Allen & Superle, 2016; Canada & Harris, 2003). The fact that the YOA set a maximum sentence of 3 years for serious crimes made it seem lenient. As a result, the nation created the YCJA, which permits harsher punishment for severe crimes. Some judges, however, continue to impose light sentences for serious crimes, enabling juvenile offenders to get away with crime with little difficulty. The case of Ross’ death is an example where the court was lenient to the offender. The teen deserved a more serious sentencing than just three years custody.

The YCJA allows young offenders to be tried in a youth court setting and sentenced as adults if convicted of a serious felony (Allen & Superle, 2016; Alvi, 2012). In such case, the accused loses the protection provided under YCJA thus h/she can receive harsher sentences. The teen involved in Ross’ death falls under the category of youth because he was aged 14 when he committed the crime. Section 13 of the Criminal Code states that young person can be charged with a Criminal Code felony if engaged in a serious crime (Allen & Superle, 2016). Section 64 also allows a young person to be tried as adults if caught in serious crimes.

The criminal record of the teen indicates that this was not the first he committed a crime (News Staff, 2017). As such, the court should have considered a harsher sentence for the accused than the three years custody. For example, a boy 12 was charged with murder in Pennsylvania (Chen, 2010). Similarly, the teen who shot Ross should be charged with second-degree murder for his dangerous conduct and apparent lack of concern for human life. That is, the accused played with a gun and went on to say that there is nothing he could do to make the mother of the victim feel better (News Staff, 2017). According to Section 42 of Criminal Code, the sentence for second-degree murder is seven years. These include 4 years custody and 3 years under conditional supervisor.

In conclusion, the Canadian Criminal Code allows young people to be tried and sentenced as adults if caught in a serious crime. The teen accused of Ross’ death should have been sentenced for second-degree murder and sentenced to seven years custody. Such sentence would have been fair for the victim’s family.


Allen, M. K. & Superle, T. (2016). Youth crime in Canada, 2014. Retrieved from

Alvi, S. (2012). Youth criminal justice policy in Canada: A critical introduction. New York, NY: Springer.

Canada., & Harris, P. J. (2003). Youth Criminal Justice Act manual. Aurora, Ont: Canada Law Book.

Chen, S. (2010). Boy, 12, faces grown up murder charges. CNN 15 Mar. 2010. Retrieved from

News Staff. (2017). Teen sentenced to three year maximum in Lecent Ross' death. 680 News, 3 Mar. 2017. Retrieved from

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