The uproar and criticism expressed by some over the Montreal Canadiens drafting of Logan Mailloux is misguided, senseless and entirely inconsistent with Canada's public policy with respect to how we deal with young persons in our criminal justice system. Canadian public policy on how we have chosen to deal with criminality involving young persons is very different from the U.S.A. In Canada unlike the U.S. we have a federal statute in the Youth Criminal Justice Act which applies nationwide and clearly articulates the law on how young persons are dealt with in our criminal justice system. That law takes clear notice of the lower culpability of young persons for criminal acts on account of their tender age and their inability to appreciate the consequences of the acts and the need for their rehabilitation.
The following excerpts from the preamble of Canada's Youth Criminal Justice Act, S.C. 2002, c 1 and the key principles set out in the legislation articulate Canada's public policy on this issue :
"Whereas members of society share a responsibility to address the
developmental challenges and the needs of young persons and to guide
them into adulthood ;
"Whereas communities, families, parents and others concerned with the
development of young persons should, through multi-disciplinary
approaches , take reasonable steps to prevent youth crime by
addressing its underlying causes, to respond to the needs of young
persons, and to provide guidance and support to those at risk of
3(1) The following principles apply in this Act:
(a) the youth criminal justice system is intended to protect the public by
(i) holding young people accountable through measures that are proportionate to the
seriousness of the offence and the degree of responsibility of the young person;
(ii) promote the rehabilitation and reintegration of young persons who
have committed offences
(b) the criminal justice system for young persons must be separate from that
of adults, must be based on the principle of diminished moral
blameworthiness or culpability and must emphasize the following:
(i) rehabilitation and reintegration,
(ii) fair and proportionate accountability that is consistent with the
greater dependency of young persons and their reduced level of
Young Logan Mailloux broke the law in Sweden and was dealt with by that
country's justice system. He was fined $2,100 for his breach of the law in Sweden.
He has apologized to the harmed party and expressed public remorse for his conduct.
The Montreal Canadiens have undertaken to provide "guidance and support" to Logan
rather than take away his livelihood on account of an act, which while most clearly
deserving of censure, begs for mercy, compassion and understanding. Logan is in
good hands with the Montreal Canadiens. He has promised to earn our trust and
respect. We need to grant him that opportunity. None among us is
without flaw. No one can argue that it is not in the public interest to rehabilitate
Logan and make him a good man.
E.J. Guiste is a trial & appeal lawyer based in the Greater Toronto Area.