The Centre for Constitutional Studies is delighted to host a public talk with Professor Debra Parkes, Peter A. Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia.
International human rights bodies have long recommended the abolition of life sentences for children but these punishments remain legal in many countries, including Canada. In 2008, the Supreme Court of Canada recognized the presumption of diminished moral blameworthiness of young people as a constitutional principle of fundamental justice and overturned a law that presumed young people (those under 18) should be sentenced as adults for some serious crimes, including murder. The burden is now on the Crown to prove that a youth sentence would not be of sufficient length to hold the young person accountable for their behaviour. For murder, the only available adult sanction is the mandatory sentence of life.
Prof. Parkes will discuss the reasoning in reported Canadian cases since 2008 in which the Crown sought a life sentence for a young person convicted of murder. She will investigate how judges make sense of a law that provides that a teenager must either receive a maximum sentence of 10 years under the youth system or a minimum penalty of life in adult prison, but nothing in between. Additionally, Prof. Parkes will discuss the constitutional arguments that are at issue, including potential violations of s. 7, 12, and 15 of the Charter and the case law that supports these arguments.
Register to attend online via zoom here.
Register to attend in-person here.
October 27, 2023, 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm