Archive for Tough on crime

Posted in Politics with tags , , , on September 29, 2011 by The Quintessential Geek

The Conservative Government introduced their dreaded omnibus crime bill in parliament earlier this month.  We all know, thanks to an eager media, that most of the proposed changes involve tougher sentences for harsher crime, but what exactly is in Bill C-10?

To answer this question, I have compared the existing legislation with the proposed changes, and have come up with a summary sheet on what to expect if this bill becomes law.

Please note that I am not a lawyer – this is simply a layperson’s attempt at understanding what our Government is doing to fight crime.

A. Victims of terrorism

  • Anyone who is a victim of a terrorism plot that occurred during or after 1985 can sue either the terrorist group itself, or the country sponsoring the terrorist group. This would apply only if the plot occurred on Canadian soil, or has a “Canadian connection”. Moreover, the country being sued can, in its defence, follow international arbitration rules instead of proceeding with the lawsuit. A list of countries that support terrorism (and can therefore be sued as the result of this law) must be established 6 months after this bill becomes law. This list must also be reviewedevery 2 years.

B. Assault

  • The minimum jail time for sexual assault with a weapon will be ncreased from 7 years to 14 years.

C. Laws related to minors / young adults

  • New: The minimum jail time for incest against a minor will be 5 years.
  • The minimum jail time for committing bestiality with a minor present will be 1 year. The maximum jail time remains the same at 10 years.
  • New: When on probation, an offender convicted of any type of sexual activity with a minor cannot have any contact whatsoever with any other minor unsupervised.
  • The minimum jail time for any type of sexual activity with a minor will be increased from 45 days to 1 year.
  • The minimum jail time for encouraging a minor to engage in any type of sexual activity will be increased from 45 days to 1 year.
  • An offender convicted of any type of sexual activity with a minor can no longer use the Internet.
  • The maximum jail time for a parent who sells their child for sexual activities will be increased from 5 years to 10 years if the child is less than 16 years old. The minimum jail time will be increased from 6 months to 1 year.
  • The maximum jail time for a parent who sells their child for sexual activities will be increased from 2 years to 5 years if the child is between 16 and 18 years old. The minimum jail time will be increased from 45 days to 6 months.
  • The maximum jail time for any landlord allowing the use of property for sexual activity with a child between 16 and 18 years old will be increased from 45 days to 90 days.
  • New: It will be illegal to make “explicit material” available to anyone under 18 years old. The jail time for this infraction will be between 90 days and 2 years. “Explicit material” is further defined as any material that is not child pornography (which is dealt with in subsequent clauses of the act).
  • Laws regarding child luring are expanded to include the use of “telecommunications” (cell phones, etc), as opposed to simply “a computer system”.
  • New: The minimum jail time for any person caught luring a child will be 1 year.
  • New: The minimum jail time for sexual assault on children under 16 years old will be 1 year.
  • New: The minimum jail time for sexual assault with a weapon against children under 16 years old will be 5 years, and the maximum will be imprisonment for life.
  • New: Minimum jail time for any drug-related charge will be two years if the accused committed the  offence near a school or in prison, or involved a person under 18 years old.

 
D. Young offenders

  • New: A youth can now only be detained in custody if: (a) the youth has been charged with a “serious offence”, (b) there is a chance the youth will not appear in court, or (c) detention is necessary for the protection or safety of the public.
  • New: A youth over 14 years old can now be tried as an adult in the case of “serious violent offences”.
  • New: The publication ban imposed on young offenders can be lifted if the youth is convicted of a violent offence, or if the youth poses a risk of committing another violent offence. The Attorney General of Canada is the only person who can authorize the lifting of the ban.

E. Child pornography

  • The minimum jail time for possessing or accessing child pornography will be increased from 45 days to 6 months.

F. Drugs

  • New: Minimum jail time for any drug-related charge will be one year if the accused: (a) is part of organized crime, (b) used violence or a weapon, or (c) was previously convicted.
  • New: Maximum jail time for possession of less than 3 kg of cannabis (resin or marihuana) will be 5 years less a day. There is no indication of minimum jail times for this offence.
  • New: Mandatory minimum jail time for trafficking less than 1 kg of opium, cocaine, or chemical drugs will be 1 year. Mandatory minimum jail time for trafficking more than 1 kg of the same will be 2 years. Maximum remains the same at life imprisonment, regardless of amount trafficked.
  • New: Mandatory minimum jail time for producing drugs (except cannabis) with the intent of trafficking will be 1 year.
  • New: Mandatory minimum jail time for producing cannabis plants with the intent of trafficking depends on the amount of plants produced. Between 6 and 200 plants, mandatory minimum jail time will be 6 months. Between 201 and 500 plants, mandatory minimum jail time will be 1 year. Over 500 plants, mandatory minimum jail time will be 2 years.
  • New: Mandatory minimum jail times for drug offences are not enforceable unless the offender is made aware of these minimum jail times before entering a plea.
  • New: Amphetamines will now be part of the banned substances list.

G. Sentencing

  • New: Conditional sentencing will no longer be allowed for offences that either caused bodily harm, or involve: drugs, prison breaches, criminal harassment, sexual assault, kidnapping, slavery, child abduction, theft of a vehicle, breaking and entering, or arson.
  • The criteria to determine the risk to re-offend will be examined much closer in the cases of: adult procuring sexual activities for a minor, an adult allowing such sexual activity to occur in the house, making sexually explicit material available to a child, luring a child, sexual offence against a child, and prostitution of children.
  • New: A provincial court judge may now prohibit a defendant from using any digital network, including the Internet.
  • New: If the offender completes a drug treatment program while awaiting sentencing, the courts are  not required to impose mandatory minimum jail times for drug offences.
  • New: Jail time for the production of any drug with the intent of trafficking will be more severe if: (a) the person used another person’s property, (b) the grow-up is unsafe to anyone under 18 years old, (c) the production constitutes a public safety hazard, or (d) booby traps are used.
  • New: Every offender will have a “correctional plan” established after first reception into the prison. This plan includes objectives for the prisoner’s behaviour, as well as mandatory participation in rehabilitation programs. This plan will be used when determining early release or parole for good behaviour. Under this plan, prison officials must give offenders incentives to rehabilitate themselves.
  • New: Any offender on release may be required to wear a monitoring device.
  • New: Prison officials may search any and all vehicles entering prison grounds.
  • New: Law officials may arrest an offender in breach of parole without a warrant.
  • New: Victims can now present a written statement to be read during a parole review hearing. The victim does not need to be present for the hearing for the statement to be read.

H. Accountability

  • New: A cost-benefit analysis report of enforcing mandatory minimum jail times for drug offences must be produced within 5 years of this bill coming into law.
  • New: Every year, the Parole Board must submit to parliament a report outlining the number of criminal record suspensions, as well as any details of these suspensions.