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JURISDICTION - Courts - Provincial and territorial courts

Friday, January 29, 2021 @ 2:48 PM  

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Appeal by TJM, a young person charged with second-degree murder, from a decision of the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench that found that a justice of a superior court did not have jurisdiction to hear and adjudicate an application for judicial interim release of a young person. The Crown had given notice of its intention to seek an adult sentence, entitling TJM to elect the mode of trial. He elected trial by a superior court judge sitting without a jury, requested a preliminary inquiry and sought judicial interim release before the application judge, a justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta. The application judge found he had no jurisdiction to grant judicial interim release to a young person as Parliament had vested exclusive jurisdiction in the designated youth court for the province, the provincial court of Alberta. The parties acknowledged the appeal was moot as the Crown had entered a stay of proceedings.

HELD: Appeal allowed. Where a superior court judge became a youth justice court judge by operation of the deeming provisions in s. 13(2) or s. 13(3) of the Youth Criminal Justice Act, the superior court was so deemed for the purpose of the proceeding, which included not just trial but any step taken after the young person elected to be tried at the superior court, including any pretrial application for judicial interim release. A superior court justice had jurisdiction to hear and decide an application for judicial interim release brought by a young person charged with an offence listed in s. 469 of the Criminal Code. That jurisdiction was held concurrently with the judges of the designated youth justice court for the province. By conferring concurrent jurisdiction, Parliament introduced a measure of flexibility that was absent from the adult criminal justice system in order to achieve the aims of the Youth Criminal Justice Act. As the appeal was moot, no further order was necessary.

R. v. T.J.M., [2021] S.C.J. No. 6, Supreme Court of Canada, R. Wagner C.J. and R.S. Abella, M.J. Moldaver, A. Karakatsanis, S. Côté, R. Brown, M. Rowe, S.L. Martin and N. Kasirer JJ., January 29, 2021. Digest No. TLD-January252021011-SCC