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Clara Haworth

on 10 January 2014

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Transcript of Civics

Clara Haworth
Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship
Unit #2 Civics
Canada's Courts and Trial Process
Law and Order
Rights, Responsibilities, and the Charter
Human Rights and International Rights
Charter, Jurisdiction and Enforcement
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
The Charter of Rights and Freedoms applies to all levels of government et al.
The Charter does not have jurisdiction over situations that do not involve the government (ex. private law, contract law).
Et al. means and others.
There are 34 sections in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Section 24(1) gives people the right to challenge the government in court if their charter rights have been infringed or violated (by the government).
The Supreme Court of Canada is the guardian of the Constitution.
The Supreme Court of Canada upholds the rights of citizens.
The Supreme Court of Canada interprets existing laws.
The Supreme Court of Canada has three questions in order to determine whether the government (the defendant) or the plaintiff will win the case.
Question #1:
Was the right infringed or violated by the government or its agencies?
Question #2:
Is the right in question covered under the Charter?
Question #3:
Is the violation or infringement within a reasonable limit?
When the Supreme Court of Canada determines that a Charter right or freedoms has been infringed, the are permitted to rule that a particular law is not valid if it violates the Charter and they can strike down the offending legislation (law) using section 52 of the Constitution.
Fundamental Freedoms
Section 1:
Reasonable Limits Clause
Section 2:
Fundamental Freedoms
Section 3-5:
Democratic Rights
Section 6:
Mobility Rights
Section 7-14:
Legal Rights
Section 15:
Equality Rights
Section 16-23:
Language Rights
Section 24:
Enforcement and Evidence
Section 25-31:
(aboriginal rights and multicultural heritage)
Section 32:
Section 33:
Notwithstanding Clause
Section 34:
1. Freedom of conscience and religion.
2. Freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression.
3. Freedom of peaceful assembly.
4. Freedom
of association.
The rule of law = no one is above the law.
Becoming informed about the issues that our society faces.
Listening to the ideas of others and respecting their rights.
Using our skills and abilities in a socially useful manner.
Being actively and thoughtfully involved in protecting our own and other people's rights.
Participating in improving our communities (if we disagree with certain decisions and laws as they exist).
Human Rights
-stereotypes- an oversimplified, false, generalized portrayal of a group of people; a standard fixed judgement that leads to prejudice
-prejudice- preconceived opinions; to "pre-judge" based on real or imagined characteristics; an opinion or judgement based on irrelevant considerations or inadequate knowledge, especially an unfavourable opinion or judgement
-discrimination- the outcome or action derived from stereotypes and prejudice; any practice or behaviour, whether intentional or not, which has a negative effect on an individual or group because of their race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, family status, handicap, or any other analogous ground; the effect of the behaviou on the individual is to withhold or limit full, equal and meaningful access to goods, services, facilities, employment, housing accommodation, etc. available to other members of society
Human rights legislation deals with discrimination in particular areas of our lives.
Legislation is used to correct and prevent the injustice of discrimination.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted in 1948 by the United Nations to promote human rights and stabilize international relations between countries; it sets a common standard of conduct for all people and nations.
International human rights protection:
*do not have the force of law
*the power of these agreements comes from mutual example and public pressure
1948- Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations
1977- Canadian Human Rights Act enacted
The Canadian Human Rights Act was enacted in 1977. It applies to federal government departments and agencies.
The Ontario Human Rights Code (OHRC) outlines the rights and responsibilities of citizens.
The OHRC explains how to access its human rights protections, as well as identifying who is responsible for protecting everyone's rights.
The OHRC provides a legal mechanism to prevent or stop discrimination and provide remedies for victims of discrimination.
The Human Rights Commission is a group of people appointed by the federal or provincial government to enforce human rights and make decisions about complaints.
Human Rights Commission = administrative law
Victims report discrimination by:
1. Filing a complaint.
2. The commission may dismiss the complaint.
3. Mediation and investigation.*
4. Hearing a case (similar to a trial).
5. Remedies.
*If the parties do not agree to mediation or if no settlement is reached, the complainant is referred to investigation services.
-complainant- the person making the allegation (complaint)
-respondent- the person/ organization against whom a claim is brought in court
-prima facie- legally convincing unless disproved by contrary evidence
-gravamen- the grievance (main cause of the accusation)
-ombudsman- an officer who investigates complaints
Law for Society
As a member of society, you must obey laws. If you fail to comply, you will be punished.
The law is a civilized attempt to regulate life in society by the principles of reason and fairness, opposed to brute force.
Laws provide predictability and structure creating a safe and peaceful society.
Disputes and disagreements are settled in courts, rather than by dueling in the street.
Rule of Law:
*the law is necessary to regulate society
*the law applies equally to everyone (no one is above the law)
*no one in society has the authority to take away our right, except in accordance with the law
Categories of Law
International Law
Domestic Law
Laws governing activities within the boundaries of a nation.
If you break a law in another country, there is little the Canadian government can do to help you.
Each country has its own laws, legal system and methods of enforcement.
There are domestic laws that allow Canadians to be arrested in Canada for crimes they committed abroad.
Substantive Law
Procedural Law
Substantive Law is law that defines rights, duties and obligations of citizens and government (content of the law).
Public Law
Private Law
(Civil Law)
Public law regulates the relationship between the government and its citizens.
All public laws are subject to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which is entrenched in the Constitution (constitutional law).
Constitutional Law
Administrative Law
Criminal Law
Administrative law is the many government departments, boards and tribunals that play a role in regulating the relationship between people and government agencies.
Criminal law prohibits and punishes behaviour that causes harm to another.
All crimes are describe in the Criminal Code of Canada and federal statutes.
Only the federal government has the authority to pass criminal legislation.
Private law covers areas of the law that deal with legal relationships between individuals and organizations.
Tort Law
Contract Law
Family Law
Wills and Estates
Property Law
Employment Law
Procedural law is law that prescribes the methods of enforcing the rights and obligations of substantive law (the process of the law).
Procedural law requires all persons with lawful authority to follow certain procedures because it creates a higher degree of predictability and legal/ lawful consistency.
International law is the law that governs relations between nations.
International law was developed in an attempt to resolve issues and conflicts without resorting to war.
Typical issues dealt with include:
*rules of war
*exploitation of resources
When somebody is injured or harmed as a result of the negligent or deliberate actions of others, and the injured party seeks compensation for harm, pain, suffering, or financial loss caused by the actions of another.
The burden of proof is on the plaintiff; meaning that he/she must prove that the defendant's actions caused the damage.
Contract law deals with everyday transactions in which people purchase or provide goods or services.
If one party fails to uphold the terms of the agreement, the other may seek the court's assistance to have the terms enforced.
Family law covers such matters as marriage, property division upon separation, custody and child support and divorce.
Family law also specifies requirements for obtaining a divorce and may determine how often a separated parent can have access to his/her children.
Law governs life from birth to death. Estate law (succession law) deals with the division of property after death.
Estate lawyers ensure clients have legally binding wills that properly reflect how the deceased would like the assets divided (etc.).
Estate law disputes occur if someone challenges the terms of the will after a person passes away and also governs what will happen to the assets should the individual die without a will (intestate).
Property law regulates ownership rights in all property, including the transfer of real estate.
Originally, most Canadian laws dealing with property came from British case law. Today, much of our property law can be found in statutes.
Employment law covers the relationship between employers and employees.
Federal and provincial governments have enacted laws that regulate the workplace and balance the rights of employers and employees.
Employment law governs:
*hiring and firing practices
*protection from discrimination and harassment
*safety rules and procedures for protection in the workplace
*regulating unions and their activities
In Canada, employment laws:
*protect children under a certain age from being forced to work
*restrict the number of hours employees must work
*specify the minimum wage employers must pay
Civil Remedies
Civil remedies allow plaintiffs to receive money, or damages, for the losses or injuries they have suffered.
The four common types of damages are:
*1. General
*2. Special (out-of-pocket expenses, bills)
*3. Punitive (meant to punish)
*4, Nominal (small amount to signify a "victory")
Criminal Law
For something to be considered a crime, there are three criteria which must be present:
*1. The act must be prohibited by the Criminal Code of Canada
*2. The accused must have intended to commit the act
*3. The accused must have been able to understand that what they have done is wrong
-disrepute- the state of being held in low esteem by the public; negative/bad light; losing trust or faith in something
-racial profiling- any action undertaken for reasons of safety, security or public protection that relies on stereotypes about race, colour, ethnicity, ancestry, religion, or place of origin rather than on reasonable suspicion, to single out an individual for greater scrutiny or different treatment
-negotiation- involves the two parties sitting down together to resolve their problems
-mediation- involves the use of a third party who is neutral; this person helps the two parties come to a decision
-arbitration- is used when the two parties are unable to come to a decision; a third person listens to the arguments from both sides and makes a decision which is final
-summary offence- minor or less serious crimes
-indictable offence- more serious crimes (ex. violent crimes)
Alternate Dispute Resolution
There are three kinds of approaches to alternate dispute resolution:
Components of the Criminal Court System
Provincial Court System
Federal Court System
Role of the Jury
The Provincial Court System consists of the provincial courts and the superior courts of the province.
Provincial Courts have trial divisions.
Superior Courts have trial and appeal divisions.
Provincial courts are at the bottom of the hierarchy of Canadian courts.
Cases are tried by judges alone (no jury).
Each province divides court into separate divisions (ex. criminal, civil, small claims, family, youth justice, etc.).
Provincial Appeal
An appeal from the provincial court regarding a summary conviction offence is heard by a single judge of the Superior Court of the Province.
An appeal from the provincial court regarding an indictable offence is heard by the Superior Court of the Province by a panel of 3-5 judges.
Superior Courts
The Superior Courts are the highest level of the provincial criminal and civil court and has jurisdiction in both.
The Superior Court System is the same across Canada, but names of the courts change.
The superior court of Ontario is called The Superior Court of Justice.
Appeals from the Superior Court (trial division) are heard in the Superior Court (appeal division).
A panel of 3-5 judges hear the cases brought forward.
An appeal is lost or won based on the majority of the votes of the judges.
The Federal Court of Canada, both trial and appeal divisions, hear claims involving the federal government and hears appeals from federally appointed boards, commissions and tribunals.
Supreme Court of Canada
The Supreme Court of Canada is the highest court in Canada.
The Supreme Court of Canada consists of a chief of justice and 8 justices (all appointed by the federal government).
By law, 3 of the 9 justices must come from Quebec.
Traditionally, there are 3 justices from Ontario, 2 from Western Canada and 1 from Atlantic Canada.
Cases are heard by a panel of 5, 7 or 9 justices.
The Supreme Court of Canada hears appeals, matters of national significance or cases where decisions conflict in provincial appeals court.
Canadian Criminal Court Structure and Avenues of Appeal
A preliminary hearing determines whether there is sufficient evidence to put the accused on trial by a higher court.
Criminal Court
Youth Justice Court
Family Court
Small Claims Court
The Criminal Trial Process
The two fundamental principles in Canada's criminal justice system are:
*1. Accused person is innocent until proven guilty
*2. Guilt must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt
If there is any doubt about the defendant's guilt, the person must be acquitted.
Court Personnel
Judges make decisions about the admissibility of evidence.
The Judge controls the events in the courtroom.
The Judge interprets the law pertaining to the case.
The Judge instructs the jury on points of law.
The Judge sentences the defendant.
In a non-jury case, the judge determines guilt or innocence and then sentences (if applicable).
The defence is the person accused of the crime combined with his/her defence team (lawyers).
The defendant may represent themselves at the trial, hire a lawyer or have duty counsel provided by the government.
Duty counsel is free legal advice provided to represent the defendant by the government to people who cannot or choose not to afford a lawyer.
If the defendant pleads not-guilty, the defence will try to prove reasonable doubt.
If the accused is found guilty, the defense counsel will recommend an appropriate sentence to the Judge (Crown will also make recommendations).
Crown counsel is the prosecutor.
The prosecutor is the lawyer representing the government's interest in investigating and punishing criminal offences to ensure society's safety.
Preparation to prosecute includes:
*researching the law
*assembling evidence
*reviewing exhibits
*taking witness statements
The role of the prosecution is to bring forward credible evidence of a crime.
Court Clerk
The court clerk assists the judge by:
*keeping a record of trial exhibits
*administering oaths
*announcing the beginning/end of sessions
Court Reporter
Through an electronic monitoring system, the court reporter records everything verbatim that is said throughout the entire trial (called a transcript).
Court Security
The court security officer helps maintain courtroom security and handles the accused person in custody.
The sheriff summons, pays, secludes and guards jurors.
The bailiff assists the sheriff.
Witnesses give evidence about their knowledge of the circumstances around a crime.
Both counsels can issue a subpoena that requires a witness to appear in court.
If a witness fails to appear in court, they are found guilty of contempt of court; fined and/or jailed up to 90 days.
Witnesses must take an oath or solemn affirmation to tell the truth.
Perjury is lying under oath (knowingly making false statements). It is an indictable offence with a maximum penalty of 14 years.
The jury is a group of 12 men and women chosen by the Crown and defence counsels.
The Jury is selected from a pool of ordinary citizens.
In criminal court, the decision of guilty or not-guilty must be unanimous by the jury.
Jurors listen to arguments, examine evidence and follow the judge's instructions.
At the end of the trial, the jurors deliberate on the facts of the case and return with a verdict.
Eligibility of jurors:
*18 years of age (and older)
*must be a Canadian citizen
*must be a resident of the province for at least one year (you will serve in your provincial jurisdiction)
Some exemptions of jurors:
*over the age of 65
*health reasons
*full-time student
*extreme hardships
*limited ability to speak English or French
*firm travel plans
Disqualifications of jurors:
*police officer
*trustee in bankruptcy
*employee of the Ministry of Attorney General
*persons convicted of certain criminal offences within the last 5 years
*officers of the court (ex. clerks, sheriffs, etc.)
*peace officers and fire fighters
*persons with mental disabilities or illnesses
*spouses of judges. lawyers, officers of the court, the Senate, the House of Commons, etc.
Components of the criminal trial process:
*1. Crown's opening statement
*2. Examination of witnesses
*3. Defence responds
*4. Rules of evidence/objections
*5. Types of evidence
*6. Summations
*7. Charge to the jury
*8. Verdict
*9. Appeals
Crown's Opening Statement
Examination of Witnesses
Defence Responds
Rules of Evidence/Objections
Types of Evidence
Charge to the Jury
Burden of proof means that the Crown has the obligation to prove the guilt of the accused.
The Crown presents its case first.
The opening statement identifies:
*the offence
*summarizes the evidence against the accused
*outlines how the Crown will prove its case
The first examination of a witness is called direct examination or examination in-chief.
The Crown will ask the witness to recount information.
The purpose of cross examination is to test the accuracy of the witness (introduce doubt).
Once the Crown is done questioning, the defence tries to contradict evidence.
A motion for dismissal is when the defence requests that the Judge dismiss the charges because the defence believes that the Crown has failed to prove guilt.
If the Judge agrees, he/she enters a directed verdict of not-guilty.
If the Judge does not agree, the defence enters a plea of not-guilty and the trial continues.
The defence then summarizes its case.
The defendant may choose to testify, but cannot be compelled to be a witness, according to section 11(c) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Either side may object to the other side's questioning of witnesses or responses from witnesses.
The Judge determines whether the objection is acceptable.
-sustained- supports objection; question is improper; evidence cannot be used
-overruled- denies objection; question is proper, lawyer can continue questioning
"Leading the witness" questions usually lead to objections, at which point the questioning lawyer would be asked to reword/rephrase the question.
Hearsay is not permitted in court.
Witnesses must answer only what they saw or experienced first-hand, not about something they heard about third-party.
Only expert witnesses can offer opinions (ex. investigators, medical examiners, psychologists, etc.) and cannot speak outside of their own "role".
All evidence must be "material" (important and relevant to the case).
Types of evidence:
*Direct evidence
*Circumstantial evidence
*Character evidence
Electronic surveillance is used to overhear or record communications.
Polygraphs are lie detector tests.
A voir dire is a mini-trial that takes place during the trial.
Direct evidence is the testimony of an eyewitness to prove an alleged fact.
Circumstantial evidence is indirect evidence that leads to a reasonable inference (relies on circumstance).
Character evidence establishes the likelihood that the defendant is the type of person who would either commit or not commit a certain offence.
The Crown is generally not allowed to attack the defendant's character, but is allowed to introduce prior convictions.
The defence is allowed to produce good character witnesses.
Wiretapping is the interception of telephone communications.
Generally, any evidence obtained this way is admissible, if the interception is authorized before hand by a judge.
Bugging is recording verbal communications with an electronic device commonly installed in vehicles or buildings to hear within range.
The average polygraph test takes 2-3 hours to complete.
A skilled examiner asks a series of questions and detects physical signs that indicate deception.
Polygraphs measure changes in:
*blood pressure
Polygraph results are not admissible in court now, but answers to questions can be introduced as evidence.
Jurors are excluded while the admissibility of evidence is discussed.
Witnesses are called to the stand to determine admissibility for trial.
Once testimony is given, each counsel presents their side in a summary directed to the jury.
If the defence called a witness during the trial, then they will close first.
If not, the Crown will close first, which gives the defence an opportunity to be the last voice heard before deliberation.
The Crown attempts to show that the defendant is guilty beyond all reasonable doubt.
The defence attempts to show that the Crown failed to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
After the summations, the judge "charges" the jury. The judge:
*explains the law
*instructs on how the law applies to the case
*advises how to consider the evidence
*advises how to return a verdict in accordance with the law
Usually, the judge will invite the foreman to read the verdict.
The defendant rises to hear the verdict.
If the verdict is guilty, the defendant is remanded back into custody to await sentencing at a later date.
A hung jury is a jury that cannot reach a unanimous decision.
In a criminal trial the verdict must be unanimous.
-appellant- party that files an appeal
-respondent- party that responds to the appeal
An appeal court will either:
*affirm the lower court's decision
*reverse the lower court's decision
*order a new trial
A notice of appeal must be filed within 30 days of the trial.
In criminal cases, either side can appeal.
Appeals use a panel of 3-5 judges.
Witnesses do not testify again. Judges use trial transcripts, exhibits entered in trial, etc.
The court's verdict is a majority (not always unanimous).
Goals of Sentencing
Protection of the Public
Once a person has been found guilty of committing a crime, the judge imposes a sentence or punishment.
Protection of the public includes:
*protection of their person
*protection of their property
*protection of their individual rights and freedoms
When a person commits an offence, people feel threatened until the offender is apprehended and public protection is restored.
When a person harms another, society often wants that person to "pay" for the offence.
-retribution- punishing an offender to avenge a crime; to satisfy the public that the offender has "paid" for the offence.
The Code of Hammurabi is "an eye for an eye".
Punishing an offender will send the message that anyone caught breaking the law will be punished accordingly.
Imposing a penalty will deter others from committing crimes.
-specific deterrence- punishment as a way of discouraging criminals from re-offending
-general deterrence- punishment as a way of discouraging other members of society from committing similar crimes
The goal of rehabilitation is to help offends become law-abiding citizens.
-rehabilitation- treating problems that interfere with an offender's ability to function in society.
Rehabilitation includes services and programs such as:
*psychiatric and medical treatment for drug and alcohol dependency, behaviour modification, etc.
*educational programs that teach offenders skills to prepare them for reintegration into the community
-recidivism- when an offender returns to crime after being released from prison.
Treatment can be matched to offender's needs to better aid him/her in becoming more successful when reintegrated into society.
Restitution requires offenders to pay society back for the injury, loss, or suffering they caused.
Actual payment for damages is a more obvious form of restitution, although community service is also common in order to restore relationships between the offender and society.
When rehabilitation, deterrence and the protection of the public are not relevant punishment goals, denunciation (public condemnation) of the offender's actions is the goal of punishment.
Denunciation sends a message that the offender's actions have violated society's basic code of values and such conduct will not be tolerated and is punishable.
In passing a sentence, a judge may try to achieve more than one goal to help the offender return to society (and not return to crime).
The judge weighs the facts of each case to decide which sentencing goals are most important to achieve.
After a defendant is convicted in a criminal trial, the sentencing process begins.
For summary (minor) offences, sentencing usually takes place immediately.
For indictable (major) offences, sentencing is more complex and is often delayed to allow time for the judge to make an informed decision.
The Offender
The Victim
A judge may order a pre-sentence report for the purposes of gathering information about the offender. The report is prepared by a probation officer and includes:
*offenders background
*employment history
*physical and mental health
*social activities
*potential ability
A psychiatric assessment may also be ordered, which is prepared by a qualified psychiatrist and includes mental history and the results of psychiatric tests (often an important factor in helping the judge determine an appropriate sentence).
This report must be objective in order to provide "a picture of the accused as a person in society".
Victim Impact Statements describe the harm and/or loss experienced by the victim or the victim's family. It is read before the offender or presented in another manner the court considers appropriate.
Being allowed to confront the offender can be particularly significant for victims who have suffered physical and/or emotional damage.
The Crown (prosecutor representing society) presents evidence at trial to support the criminal charges.
If the accused is found guilty beyond all reasonable doubt, the Crown has the right to recommend an appropriate sentence.
The Crown may introduce the offender's prior criminal record in arguing for a substantial prison term.
It is the role of the Crown to ensure that society's interests are protected when the offender is sentenced.
Factors Influencing Sentencing
Concerning the Offender
Concerning the Offence (committed by the offender)
Aggregating (increase) factors:
*violent offence
*number of victims
*need for deterrent
Mitigating (decrease) factors:
*minor offence
*time spent in custody
*delay in trial
Aggregating (increase) factors:
*previous criminal record
*large profits from the offence
*involving others in the offence
*ring leader of the group
*continuing the offence over time
Mitigating (decrease) factors:
*impulsive act
*young or first-time offender
*guilty plea
*cooperation with the police
*mental or physical disability
*short life expectancy
Suspended Sentence
Intermittent Sentence
Conditional Sentence
Electronic Monitoring
Deportation and Fines
Suspension of Privileges
The most lenient sentence is discharging (releasing).
A discharge may be granted for a first-time offender that does not carry a minimum sentence for which the sentence is less than 14 years.
There are two types of discharges.
-absolute discharge- even though the accused is found guilty, the judge sets that person free (after 1 year, that record is destroyed)
-conditional discharge- a release with terms attached; if these terms are obeyed, after a specified time the discharge becomes absolute; if these terms are violated, the discharge is revoked and a more severe sentence is imposed (after 3 years, that record is destroyed)
Probation is a sentence that allows a convicted offender to prove that he/she is able to live in the community without committing another offence.
Probation can be given in addition to or in place of a prison sentence.
A parole officer supervises an offender on probation. The offender must comply with a specific set of conditions in order to prove to the court that he/she will not re-offend.
Every probation order has three components. The offender must:
*keep the peace
*demonstrate good behaviour
*appear in court when required
A suspended sentence is a judgement that is passes, but not carried out as long as the offender meets certain conditions set out by the judge.
Suspended sentences can only be imposed for offences that have no minimum punishment required by the Criminal Code.
Suspended sentences are usually given for first-time or minor offences, or in the situation where the judge feels that the knowledge of the offence alone is sufficient to keep the offender in line,
An intermittent sentence is a prison sentence of less than 90 days that can be served on weekends and at night, so the offender can serve the time in intervals instead of all at once.
Intermittent sentences are usually given to offenders who are not violent, have steady jobs and whose families depend on their income.
When not in jail, the offender is subject to a probation order.
A conditional sentence is a prison term of less than two years that may be served in the community, rather than in prison.
A judge can impose a conditional sentence if the offence does not carry a minimum sentence.
The terms of a conditional sentence are stricter than they are for probation or a suspended sentence.
Electronic monitoring (EM) began as a way to track and supervise offenders on probation.
As prison populations increased in the 1980s and 1990s, authorities saw EM as an alternative to incarceration.
EM is an electronic bracelet that emits a tracking signal to a computer and a remote location.
Anyone who is not a Canadian citizen and commits and indictable (major) offence in Canada can be deported, which involves expelling that offender from the country back to his/her native land.
Fines are specific amounts of money that offenders are required to pay the court as punishment.
Some offences are best dealt with through a suspension of privileges such as withholding a driver's license or a license to own a firearm.
The suspension of privileges is in effect for a specified time frame, although some suspensions can last a lifetime.
The majority of people charged with a criminal offence never go to trial. Instead, the Crown and the defence counsel negotiate an agreement called a plea bargain, whereby the defendant agrees to plead guilty and receives a lesser sentence.
Incarceration is defined as imprisonment for a specified length of time (each criminal has a maximum sentence).
-dangerous offender- someone who constitutes a threat to the life, safety, or physical or mental well-being of others; in such cases, section 753(4) of the Criminal Code requires the judge impose an indeterminate sentence
-indeterminate sentence- where the offender is held for an indefinite period of time in a federal prison; the offender may apply for parole
-concurrent sentences- when criminals are convicted of more than one offence at a time, they must serve their sentences at the same time
-consecutive sentences- when criminals are convicted of more than one offence at a time, they must serve their sentences one after another (these are rare in Canada)
The Correctional System
Prison is the toughest and most expensive penalty we have for offenders in Canada.
The adult federal and provincial correctional system costs about $3-billion dollars annually.
The cost of keeping an offender in a federal penitentiary is about $95,000 per year.
This compares with between $2000-$9500 per year for community supervision for parolees.
Provincial Correctional System
Federal Correctional System
There are three types of custody.
People in the provincial correctional system are either awaiting trial or serving sentences of less than two years.
-closed custody- a secured facility for dangerous offenders or flight risks
-protective custody- separates inmates from others in the prison; prisoners requiring psychological care or protection from other prisoners are imprisoned here
-open custody- a less secure facility for non-violent offenders who are not flight risks
The Federal Correctional System imprisons inmates with sentences greater than two years.
Federal institutions are classified as maximum, medium and minimum security prisons.
-maximum security- secured with high walls, razor-wire fences and bars on all windows and doors; armed correctional officers; made to hold dangerous offenders
-medium security- fewer physical barriers than a maximum security prison; fewer correctional officers than a maximum security prison; prisoners have more freedom and more contact with each other
-minimum security- no external physical barriers; unarmed correctional officers; employment and educational programs to assist in the transition back to society
Prisoners in a maximum security prison who prove themselves over time can be transferred to a medium security prison.
Law and Morality
Characteristics of justice:
*1. Underlying the concept of justice is the idea that we should treat like cases alike and different cases differently
*2. We consider a law unjust if it discriminates on the basis of irrelevant characteristics
*3. Justice should be impartial; laws should be applied regardless of a person's position or financial status
*4. We expect the law itself to be just in that it conforms to society's values and beliefs
The idea of law has always been associated with the notion of justice.
-justice- just behaviour or treatment; the quality of being fair and reasonable
The concept of justice is open to debate because our ideas of justice originating from our moral convictions and our attitudes, values and beliefs change over time.
Some laws serve a practical purpose. Other laws reflect the moral values of the majority of society.
The relationship of laws to moral codes can be controversial.
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