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YOUNG PERSONS - Publication, records and information

Tuesday, October 22, 2019 @ 8:30 AM  

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Appeal by the accused, Jerace, from dismissal of an application to access the complainant's youth justice court records. The accused was self-represented at trial. He was convicted of sexual assault and sexual interference following a jury trial. The complainant, CF, was 14 years of age and thus unable to consent to sexual activity. The accused appealed the convictions. One ground of appeal submitted that the accused's inability to access the complainant's youth justice court history precluded an adequate challenge to the credibility of her testimony that she disclosed her age to the accused. The accused applied for access to the complainant's youth justice court records pursuant to s. 123 of the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA). The application was dismissed. The accused's request for certiorari quashing the decision was refused. The accused appealed.

HELD: Appeal dismissed. An accused seeking to access youth justice court records was required to comply with s. 123 of the YCJA and the Criminal Code's Mills regime, set out in ss. 278.2 to 278.9 of the Code. The provisions required two separate pre-trial determinations. The first was an application to a youth court judge to obtain access based on the test under s. 123 of the YCJA. If successful, a second application was required before the trial court to determine whether the provisions of the Mills regime were satisfied. Here, the accused's application did not take place until the trial had concluded. Nothing in the legislation provided for a process to obtain production of the records following trial or in the course of an appeal. Accordingly, even if the youth court judge had found the criteria were established, disclosure was barred under s. 278.2 of the Code. Prerogative relief in such circumstances would serve no useful purpose.

Jerace v. British Columbia (Provincial Court), [2019] B.C.J. No. 1735, British Columbia Court of Appeal, R. Goepel, G.B. Butler and P. Abrioux JJ.A., September 17, 2019. Digest No. TLD-October212019004