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Criminal Offence of Entering Any Shoppers Drug Mart in Ontario: Criminalizing Ordinary Behaviour with Youth Bail Conditions

NCJ Number
Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice Volume: 55 Issue: 2 Dated: April 2013 Pages: 187-214
Nicole M. Myers; Sunny Dhillon
Date Published
April 2013
28 pages
This article examines the dichotomy between bail provisions imposed on young offenders in Ontario by justices of the peace and the actual provisions for bail that are set forth in the Criminal Code of Canada and the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
Conditions of release are attached to bail orders in an attempt to constrain the behavior of accused young persons in the community. However, each condition, by virtue of its attachment to the release order creates the possibility of a new criminal offense. Should youths fail to comply with any of the conditions, they can have their bail revoked; they may not be released again; and they can be charged with the criminal offense of not complying with a judicial order. This study looks at the bail conditions placed on 83 youths released by justices of the peace from 4 different courthouses in the metropolitan area of Toronto, Ontario. On average 9.3 conditions were imposed and over 40 percent of the youths had more than 10 conditions attached to their release order. Many of the conditions that were routinely imposed had little or no relationship to the grounds for detention and facts of the alleged offense. Overall, 40.7 percent of conditions imposed had no apparent connection, 21.5 percent had an ambiguous connection, and 37.8 percent had a clear connection to the allegations or grounds for detention. Rather than exercising restraint and crafting narrow conditions that were clearly related to the grounds for detention and the facts of the alleged offense, conditions were generally vague and far reaching. The result of such practices is infringements on the liberty of legally innocent youths. (Published Abstract)