R. Biss, B.A., LL.B.
Contrary to popular opinion the Youth Criminal Justice Act is a real criminal statute which holds young persons criminally responsible for their actions.
The consequences of a finding of guilt under the Youth Crimina Justice Act can be very serious and long lasting. Records are not erased at age 18.
Parents of children charged under the Act need to resist the temptation to bare their souls to the police.
Notwithstanding a parent's anger towards a child involved in criminal activity, a parent needs to be available to the young person for assistance at all stages of questioning, arrest, confession (if any), release from custody, and Court.
Many young persons sign away their right to consultation with parents prior to and during a police interview.
Contrary to popular opinion, young persons and their parents do not generally understand their rights. This site is designed to assist the parents of children who have recently been arrested.
More Information About the Law
Sentences Imposed on Young Persons
Which Offences are Most Prevalent?
How to Write a Character Refence Letter for Criminal Law Sentencing
The Youth Criminal Justice Act Explained
Hensall Circle, Suite 303
This form is for use by young persons who have recently been charged with a criminal offence in Canada and by their parents. Use this form to make notes of what happened and bring this form with you to your lawyer. Each member of the family should use their own copy and make notes separately. Do not compare your recollection of what happened with that of your child, your spouse, or your parents. Complete the form noting only what you personally saw and heard. If you already have information from someone else say so, but don't solicit information from other potential witnesses including your parent, spouse or child. Your memory should not be influenced by that of another member of your family vice versa. You should not suggest possible defences to your child. Keep this information absolutely confidential.
WARNING TO THE ACCUSED YOUNG PERSON! If this memorandum when completed is not delivered to your lawyer forthwith, and if it or a photocopy is seen, obtained, or seized by the police or anyone else who is not your lawyer, this memorandum could be used in Court against you. Deliver it to your lawyer in person forthwith.
It is very important that an accused young person and his or her parents consult with a lawyer prior to first attendance in Court. Guilt or Innocence and Sentencing under the Youth Criminal Justice Act can be complex. Make sure that you are properly prepared. The Assistant Crown Attorney will certainly be prepared and the Crown's role is to act on behalf of her Majesty the Queen, not to act in your son's or daughter's best interests.
Child's Date of Birth:
Do you think your child is morally guilty of this offence?
Do you think the police can prove your child guilty?
1. Describe your dealings with the police concerning this charge:
Did you or your spouse speak to the police officer(s)?
When and Where did you first speak to them?
What Did they tell you was happening?
Did they tell you that they merely wanted to ask questions of your child as a witness?
Did they say anything to reassure you?
What promises did they make?
Were they polite ?:
Who else was there ?
Did you or your spouse or child require the assistance of an interpreter?
2. Describe Yourself and Your Spouse:
Previous Experience in Dealing with the Police:
Special Medical or Other Conditions Respecting You or Your Spouse:
3. Medical, Educational or Other Conditions Respecting Your Child:
Physical Disability or Condition:
Drug or Alcohol abuse:
Ability and Personality in dealing with adults:
Ability to politely say no to an adult:
Capacity to understand the difference between moral guilt and legal guilt:
4. Your Child's Criminal Record:
Previous Warnings from the Police:
Previous Alternative Measures, Extra-judicial Measures, or Diversion:
Previous Youth Record:
Previous Provincial Offences (Where, When, Sentence):
School Attendance Record:
General Reputation in the Community (Can you get letters of reference from Pastor, Principal, Sports Coach, Old Family Friends, Employer?):
5. What is your child charged with:
Break and Enter:
Mischief to Property:
Drunk or Dangerous Driving:
6. Is your child allegedly?:
A main participant:
A follower or lookout:
7. Describe where and when it happened including streets and city names.
Who were the witnesses? Does your child know these persons?
Can the police prove that it was your child?
8. Was there a complainant or victim?
Are you the complainant?
What did the complainant see?
Extent of injury or property damage.
Was your child injured?
Did you talk to witnesses at the scene?
Did anyone take photos?
What did your child say to the other witnesses?
Was anyone else injured?
Time of the incident:
Can the police prove time of the incident? How? Was there a witness who noted the time?
Who can give evidence for your child about the incident?
Who can give evidence against your child about the incident?
9. How were you first informed of the incident?
Did the school telephone you?
Did you go to the school?
What protocols does your School Board have for notification of parents in such cases?
Have suspension or expulsion proceedings begun?
10. Did the police come to your house prior to arrest?
Did the police ask to search your house? Did they search your house?
What did they seize?
Did they have a search warrant?
Did you hand any items over to the police?
Did you phone a lawyer from home? What advice were you given?
Did the police ask for passwords to your child's social network?
11. Was your child arrested by store security or a security officer?
Describe the details of the arrest.
Was your child read his or her rights?
Was your child afforded an opportunity to telephone a parent?
Was your child afforded an opportunity to telephone a lawyer?
Was your child afforded an opportunity to telephone 24 hour duty counsel?
Does your child normally carry a cell phone?
12. How did you come to attend at the police station?
Did you accompany your child?
Were you summoned by a police officer?
Were you able to see your child as soon as you arrived?
Did the police advise your child that you had arrived.
Note: It is your child's right to choose to consult with a parent and have the police interrogation in the presence of a parent, not your right. Your child may waive the right, but be wary of the possibility that your child is being or has been encouraged by the police to waive this extremely important right.
13. Was your child placed under arrest in your presence?
Did the officer say "I am arresting you for ....." Where were you and time?
What did they arrest your child for?
Did the officer say "I require that you accompany me for ...." Where were you and time?
Was your child told that he or she has the right to retain and instruct counsel without delay? Where were you and time? Did the officer explain that counsel means a lawyer.
Did your child understand that counsel means a lawyer?
Did your child have any trouble with the language spoken by the officer? Did your child need an interpreter?
Was your child told that he or she could telephone a 24 hour duty counsel? Where were you and time?
Did you or your child say then (at the scene) that you wanted to consult a specific lawyer?
Did you or your child say then (at the scene) that you wanted to consult duty counsel?
How did the officer respond?
Could your child have telephoned from the scene? Was there a phone nearby? Did you or your child know the number of a lawyer? Would the officer have let you?
Did they caution your child that he or she did not have to say anything and that anything they said could be used against them?
14. Assuming you were there, how did the officer bring your child to the station?
Time left the scene.
What happened in the car?
Where was your child placed?
Was your child handcuffed?
What route did the officer take?
Was it a direct route? Any detours?
Any conversation between your child and the officer in the car?
15. Assuming you were there, what did they do with your child when he or she first arrived at the station?
Time of arrival:
By what route did they bring your child into the building?
Was your child videotaped when they first arrived?
Was your child asked if he or she wanted to telephone a lawyer of his or her own choice?
Was your child asked if he or she wanted to telephone duty counsel?
Were telephone books or Internet Access provided? Was this useful access? Was the directory for the jurisdiction where your or your child's lawyer has an office?
Did the police give your child privacy during any telephone call?
Who did your child call?
Ask your child to write down a description of the room, the door, and where the officers were.
How long was your child on the phone.
Was your child videotaped during the call?
Was your child asked any questions before he or she spoke to the lawyer or duty counsel (or while waiting for call back)?
What advice did the lawyer give? Name of lawyer.
Did your child ask to make a second telephone call? Why? Response from police.
Did your child ask for anything (eg. to visit the washroom)? Response from police.
16. Assuming you were there, what happened at first in the interview room?
Time of first interview:
Was there any delay?
Was your child "under arrest" or free to leave?
Were you as a parent free to leave?
Were you as a parent free to stop the interview and use the telephone?
Did you wait for duty counsel to call back?
Were you videotaped?
Were you audiotaped?
Did the arresting officer come into the room? Time:
Did he or she explain the details of the case? Was the interview a "fishing expedition"?
How many officers in the room?
Did they read your child his or her rights again? Time:
Did they ask your child to sign a "waiver" form? Time:
Did they explain the "Waiver" form?
Did they explain that the purpose of your child being in the room was so that the police could ask him or her questions?
Did your child understand that the "waiver" form related to the police asking questions?
Does your child know what a "waiver" is?
Did your child understand that your role or potential role in the room was to act as a helper, advisor, and consultant for the child before and during the interrogation?
Did your child think that your role or potential role in the room was to act as accuser and lecturer?
Did your child think that the police were better listeners and helpers than you would be? Why?
What did you do to clarify your role?
Did your child think he or she could confide in the police?
Did you act as agent for the police during the interrogation?
Did you tell the police about other bad behaviour by your child?
Did you embarrass your child in front of the police?
17. Did your child sign the "waiver" or indicate on videotape that he or she waived all rights?
Was the waiver on 8 1/2 x 11 or 8 1/2 x 14 paper?
Were you or your child given a copy?
Did the police take these rights seriously?
Did the waiver include a statement of what each of the young person's rights were?
Right to counsel (i.e. a lawyer) without delay (i.e. forthwith, the interrogation can wait)
24 Hour Duty Counsel
Consultation (not just a phone call) in Private
No obligation to Give a Statement
Any Statement Given May Be Used in Court
Consultation with Parent Before Interrogation (not just a phone call)
Consultation with Parent in Private
Parent's Assistance in Consulting a Lawyer
Reasonable Opportunity to Consult
The requirement that any Parent and/or Lawyer Consulted Must be Present During Interrogation unless the requirement is specifically waived by the young person with full knowledge of the consequences
The possibility that the child may wish to stop the interview at any time and change his or her mind about the need for assistance or Parent and/or Lawyer
The possibility in some cases that the matter could be prosecuted in adult Court rather than Youth Court
Did your child understand that the "waiver" was a formal legal document? Give your reasons why you think that.
Did you encourage or discourage the child to sign the "waiver"? Why?
Did you encourage or discourage the child to telephone a lawyer or duty counsel? Why?
18. Did the police ask for/demand a blood sample for purposes of DNA testing?
How did your child respond?
What did you do?
Did your child consult a lawyer first?
19. If you were present in the interview room, did the police permit you to interrupt the interrogation at any time to give advice to your child?
Interject a comment:
Advise your child:
Times and duration of each interview session, state whether oral, officer's notebook, written, or video statement:
Did they give you any warnings about obstructing the police?
Was your child permitted to stop the questioning at any time?
Were the police fair in their questions?
Were the police patient or impatient?
20. What did your child say to the police? Were there any threats, promises, or inducements?
Attach a separate page of all that you can remember.
Was there any discussion about polygraph use?
Was there any discussion about whether or not your child would be released or alternatively, held overnight in detention?
Promise of release by Officer in Charge or Justice of the Peace?
Threat of detention centre overnight?
21. Did the police read rights to your child again on their decision to lay additional charges?
What are the new charges?
22. Describe your child's release.
Was anyone waiting to pick your child up from the station?
Did the police let your child call home home or a friend to pick you up?
Did the police give your child an explanation as to why they were still holding them?
Did the police delay in releasing your child?
Was your child held for a bail hearing, when was it held?:
23. What papers did you and your child receive when your child was released?
Summons (Blue or Green in Ontario, small piece of paper)
Promise to Appear? (White or Yellow in Ontario, letter or legal size)
Undertaking? (Pink or Goldenrod in Ontario)
Recognizance? (Pink or White in Ontario)
Notice to Parent (Blue in Ontario)
Are there any errors on any of these documents? Do not write anything on any of them!
Don't forget to attend with your child for photos and fingerprints if the documents so require!
22. If you or your child suffered any injuries in the accident, at the scene, or at the police station did you go to the hospital after you were released?
Were any blood samples taken at the hospital? This should have been done forthwith if at all.
23. Practical Suggestions.
Document everything that happened at the police station and bring the details to your lawyer.
What are the names of each of the police officers? Describe them.
Have someone take photos of any injury that you suffered.
Obtain a city map of the area where the incident happened.
Obtain a weather report for the time when the incident happened.
Any doctors reports?
Psychological assessments of your child available?
24. Book an appointment with your lawyer the next day.
Hensall Circle, Suite 303
Impaired Driving Lawyer
Advertisement. Any legal opinions expressed at this site relate to the Province of Ontario, Canada only. If you reside or carry on business in any other jurisdiction please consult a lawyer, solicitor, or attorney in your own jurisdiction. WARNING: All information contained herein is provided for the purpose of providing basic information only and should not be construed as formal legal advice. The author disclaims any and all liability resulting from reliance upon such information. You are strongly encouraged to seek and retain professional legal advice before relying upon any of the information contained herein.
Copyright 2018, Stephen R. Biss