R. v. J.D.T., 2020 NSSC 261

The crown (Attorney General) had appealed the decision of a Judge to review a case under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

A young person was taken into the custody by Provincial Director for breaching the conditions of his supervision while he was serving a term of community supervision. The judge could not conduct the review as the young person who had been taken into custody, was not produced before the Court within 48 hours since Director referred the case to the Court for the purpose. The question that arose was whether she erred in so deciding. The Appeal was allowed and the attorney general contended that the judge misinterpreted section 108 of Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA) and erred the jurisdiction.

It was held that The Youth Court Judge misinterpreted s. 108. Further, misconceived the varying requirements of s. 108 and s. 103 of YCJA. She mistakenly erred in holding that she did not have the jurisdiction on this case to conduct the review called for by s. 103. There were different observations made in concurrence to this opinion. Firstly, when an order is made under s. 102(1)(b) by a Provincial Director, for remanding custody with respect to community supervision, the director is adhered to review the case within 48 hours and actions pertaining to whether to release the person or refer the case to the Youth Justice Court for review under s. 103 must be taken. In this situation, section 103 tends to start with authority from where section 108 had left as a result of which the Provincial Director is duty-bound to bring the person before the court.

The court observed that there is a thin line legislative difference between section 108 and section 103 in referring the case to the court and bringing the person before the court respectively. Similarly, it is a legislative requirement that the action of referring the case to the court must be done within 48 hours whereas the action of bringing the person before the court must be done without any delay. Both the sections of the Act are clear and distinguishable though are seen as overlapping each other. Especially the section 108 talks about two types of supervision for sentencing a youth. One is called Community Supervision and another is called Conditional Supervision. Therefore, these sections are required to be read in accordance with the facts of the case and analyse which supervision sits fit to be applied.

Thus, in the light of these observations, the Youth Court Judge was said to have misinterpreted section 108 of Youth Criminal Justice Act as contended by the Attorney General and the appeal was allowed.