WHY I SPECIALIZE IN REPRESENTING YOUNG PEOPLE
I have special abilities, interest and experience in defending youth on all charges under the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA).
Unlike many defence lawyers, representing youth is a very large part of my practice, so I have a thorough knowledge of all issues pertaining to youth, including the YCJA, the related case law that applies to youth and services for youth in the community.
Young people often make mistakes because they are impulsive, they lack life experience, and their brains are not fully mature. They also challenge their parents and their parents’ values as part of the process of growing up and becoming independent. They often use alcohol and drugs to excess without understanding the potential consequences of their choices.
The Youth Criminal Justice Act gives young people enhanced protections. It requires judges to treat youth differently from adults. It requires the court to consider the young person’s level of maturity and to hold the young person accountable in a way that is meaningful, and proportionate, with a focus on rehabilitation. The YCJA has special provisions that allow for a court to order a full psychological, educational, and psychiatric assessment where appropriate to help determine why a young person is getting into trouble and what can be done to help them to succeed and grow into a successful, law-abiding adult.
It is often possible to craft resolutions for young people that help them get on the right track without impacting their futures and without a youth record. These options might include a diversion program, restorative justice circle, youth mental health diversion, or a peace bond.
Often at the beginning of negotiations the crown attorney does not believe that such an outcome is appropriate. However, after I work on the defence, and work with my client, and after some counselling to address the underlying problem, I can often persuade the crown attorney to agree to a resolution outside of the court process.
I am an extremely persistent advocate, with a passion for defending young people and getting them the best possible results, whether it be through a trial or a negotiated resolution.
I strongly believe in getting my clients the help they need, to minimize the consequences of the immediate charges, and to prevent problems and charges in the future.
It takes special communication skills to relate to young people, to ensure that they understand the issues in their case, that they are understood, and that they feel that they are understood. My ability to to communicate with young people, and to have a trusting relationship with them, combined with my expertise in youth justice law helps me to achieve extraordinary results for my clients.
I am often out in the community and I run into the parents of young people I have represented. They regularly stop me to tell me how well their child is doing, in college or university or at work, and to thank me for contributing to getting their child back on the right path without negative consequences to their future.That success is why I am passionate, and why I specialize in representing young people.