April 05, 2017
Rochette, Gagnon, Marcotte
Appeal from a judgment granting an application to subject the youth to an adult sentence and sentencing the accused. Dismissed.
The applicant, feeling betrayed by X, devised a plan with his friend B and, on the day of the tragedy, took two weapons and went to X’s home with B. While X was on the telephone with emergency 911 services, B killed her sister with a bullet to the back of the head. Two seconds later, the applicant did the same to Z, X’s friend, and finally, killed X. He was sixteen years and three months old at the time. The Court of Quebec, Youth Division, found that the prosecution had discharged its burden of rebutting the presumption of the applicant’s diminished moral blameworthiness under section 72 of the Youth Criminal Justice Act (S.C. 2002, c. 1) and sentenced him to life imprisonment with no possibility of parole for ten years.
The judgment is consistent with the two objectives referred to by Parliament in paragraph 72(1)(b) of the Youth Criminal Justice Act. The judge had to consider the seriousness of the crimes committed and the degree of involvement of the applicant. Moreover, he considered his personality disorder to be a mitigating factor in terms of his moral blameworthiness. He also took into account all of the elements relating to his personality, including the fact that, despite his youth, he displayed obvious signs of maturity. There is no reason to question this finding of fact. The judge also considered all the expert opinions, and his conclusion regarding the insufficiency of a youth sentence is not concerned with merely the impossibility of guaranteeing the success of the applicant’s treatment, but instead with the difficulty the applicant has in taking responsibility for his actions, his reluctance and instability with respect to his desire to receive treatment, his borderline personality disorder, and his substance abuse.
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