The young person appears before a judge in the Youth Division of the Court of Québec, or before a justice of the peace. The young person's mother or father will be notified of the appearance and given a copy of the information or indictment.
If the young person is already in custody, a hearing may be scheduled to determine if the young person should remain in custody during the proceedings, placed in the care of a responsible person, or released with or without conditions. The judge may impose as a condition that the young person not contact the victim.
At this stage, as the victim, you will be informed that judicial proceedings have commenced, and will receive information on your recourses and the resources available to help you. You will also be sent the form Victim Impact Statement, which you should complete if you wish to inform the court about the impact the crime has had on your life.
You should remember that you may not reveal the identity of the young person, or any information allowing the young person to be identified.
If the young person pleads not guilty, a trial is held and starts with the presentation of the evidence by the criminal and penal prosecuting attorney. Witnesses are heard and exhibits may be produced. Once the prosecution has presented all its evidence, the young person's lawyer may present a defence. Each party may cross-examine the other party's witnesses. The accused is not required to testify in a defence or to have witnesses called. Defence counsel and the criminal and penal prosecuting attorney then submit their arguments. The judge will render a verdict after examining the evidence.
If you have been summoned by subpœna to appear as a witness, you must not forget that this is a court order that requires you to attend at the date, time and place indicated to give evidence. Your testimony is an important part of the court case.
If the accused pleads guilty or is found guilty, the judge imposes a sentence. The sentence may include one or more of the following sanctions: the performance of a community service, a probation period with or without supervision, an intensive support and supervision program, an open or secure custody and supervision order, a deferred custody and supervision order, a fine, a conditional or absolute discharge, or a restitution order.
If you wish, you may speak to the criminal and penal prosecuting attorney about the type of sanction you think the young person should receive. If you have completed a Victim Impact Statement, the criminal and penal prosecuting attorney will file it with the court to ensure that the impact of the crime is taken into account.
Before imposing a sentence on a young person, the judge may, or must in certain cases, order a pre-sentence report, which will be prepared by a youth worker. The purpose of the report is to provide a portrait of the young person's situation that will assist the court in imposing a sentence.
The contents of the report are prescribed by the Act and must include the results of an interview with the victim, if reasonably possible.
A youth worker may contact you while preparing a pre-sentence report to find out more about the harm you have suffered as a result of the crime, and to ask for your opinion on the measures that should be imposed on the young person. You are under no obligation to answer any of the youth worker's questions.
Imposition of an adult sentence
The criminal and penal prosecuting attorney may, in certain exceptional circumstances, ask the court to consider imposing an adult sentence if a young person is found guilty of an indictable offence for which an adult would be liable to a prison sentence of more than two years, if the offence was committed after the young person reached the age of 14. The young person may contest the prosecutor's application at sentencing.
The young person or the criminal and penal prosecuting attorney may appeal the verdict rendered or the sentence imposed by the judge who presided over the trial. However, certain rules of law govern the appeal process; a party cannot appeal simply because it is dissatisfied with the judgment.
No person may make public the name of a minor who is the victim of a crime committed by a young person, or the name of a minor who has testified in proceedings under the YCJA, except in certain specific circumstances: when the minor so requests, or when the disclosure is authorized by the court. The prohibition also applies to any information that would serve to identify the minor. The Criminal Code provides for the protection of the identity of victims and witnesses in certain other circumstances.
Assistance for the victims of crime
Victims, their families and witnesses have access to several resources and assistance services. Your local police station, community health and social services centre (CLSC) or crime victims assistance centre (CAVAC) can provide information on the resources best able to meet your needs.
Crime victims assistance centre (CAVACs) are community organizations that provide specialized, free and confidential services to victims of crime, their families and witnesses. The range of services available includes post-trauma, psychosocial and psychojudicial counselling, information on rights and recourses, technical assistance, court accompaniment, guidance, and referrals to other services.