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RSNL1990 CHAPTER Y-1

YOUNG PERSONS OFFENCES ACT

Amended:

2004 c47 s38; 2012 c40

CHAPTER Y-1

AN ACT RESPECTING THE COMMISSION OF
OFFENCES AGAINST THE LAWS OF THE
PROVINCE BY YOUNG PERSONS

Analysis



Short title

        1. This Act may be cited as the Young Persons Offences Act.

1984 c2 s1

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Definitions

        2. In this Act

             (a)  "offence" means an offence created by an Act or a regulation made under an Act or a municipal regulation or by-law;

             (b)  "parent" includes a person who has custody of a young person;

             (c)  "pre-sentence report" means a report on the personal and family history and present environment of a young person prepared by a person authorized by the provincial director to prepare those reports;

             (d)  "provincial director" means a person, a group or class of persons or a body appointed or designated by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council to perform, either generally or in a specific case or class of cases, the duties or functions of the provincial director under this Act;

             (e)  "young person" means a person who is or, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, appears to be

                      (i)  12 years of age or more, but,

                     (ii)  under 18 years of age,

at the time an offence is alleged to have been committed;

              (f)  "youth justice court" means the Provincial Court of the province or a court designated by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council as a youth justice court for the purpose of this Act; and

             (g)  "youth justice court judge" means a person appointed or designated to be a judge of a youth justice court.

1984 c2 s2; 2004 c47 s38

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Declaration of principles

        3. (1) It is recognized and declared that

             (a)  while young persons should not in all instances be held accountable in the same manner or suffer the same consequences for their behaviour as adults, young persons who commit offences should nonetheless bear responsibility for their contraventions;

             (b)  society must, although it has the responsibility to take reasonable measures to prevent criminal conduct by young persons, be given the necessary protection from illegal behaviour;

             (c)  young persons who commit offences require supervision, discipline and control, but, because of their state of dependency and level of development and maturity, they also have special needs and require guidance and help;

             (d)  where it is consistent with the protection of society, taking no measures or taking measures other than judicial proceedings under this Act should be considered for dealing with young persons who have committed offences;

             (e)  young persons have rights and freedoms in their own right, including those stated in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and in particular a right to be heard in the course of, and to participate in, the processes that lead to decisions that affect them, and young persons should have special guarantees of their rights and freedoms;

              (f)  in the application of this Act, the rights and freedoms of young persons include a right to the least possible interference with freedom that is consistent with the protection of society, having regard to the needs of young persons and the interests of their families;

             (g)  young persons have the right, in an instance where they have rights or freedoms that may be affected by this Act, to be informed as to what those rights and freedoms are; and

             (h)  parents have responsibility for the care and supervision of their children, and, for that reason, young persons should be removed from parental supervision either partly or entirely only when measures that provide for continuing parental supervision are inappropriate.

             (2)  This Act shall be liberally construed to the end that young persons will be dealt with in accordance with the principles set out in subsection (1).

1984 c2 s3; 2004 c47 s38

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Non-application

      3.1 This Act shall not apply to offences

             (a)  under the Highway Traffic Act and the Motorized Snow Vehicles and All-Terrain Vehicles Act , where those offences are commenced by means of a ticket issued under the Provincial Offences Act ; or

             (b)  relating to the regulation of traffic under the City of St. John's Act , the City of Corner Brook Act , the City of Mount Pearl Act or the Municipalities Act, 1999 or a regulation or by-law regulating traffic of a city, town or municipality incorporated or continued under either of those Acts.

2012 c40 s1

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Extrajudicial sanctions

        4. (1) Extrajudicial sanctions may be used to deal with a young person alleged to have committed an offence instead of judicial proceedings under this Act only where

             (a)  the sanctions are part of a program of extrajudicial sanctions authorized by the Attorney General or a delegate of the Attorney General or authorized by a person, or a person within a class of persons, designated by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council;

             (b)  the person who is considering whether to use those sanctions is satisfied that they would be appropriate, having regard to the needs of the young person and the interests of society;

             (c)  the young person, having been informed of the extrajudicial sanctions, fully and freely consents to participate in them;

             (d)  the young person has, before consenting to participate in the extrajudicial sanctions, been advised of the right to be represented by counsel and been given a reasonable opportunity to consult with counsel;

             (e)  the young person accepts responsibility for the act or omission that forms the basis of the offence that the young person is alleged to have committed;

              (f)  there is, in the opinion of the Attorney General or the agent of the Attorney General, sufficient evidence to proceed with the prosecution of the offence; and

             (g)  the prosecution of the offence is not barred at law.

             (2)  Extrajudicial sanctions shall not be used to deal with a young person alleged to have committed an offence where the young person

             (a)  denies participation or involvement in the commission of the offence; or

             (b)  expresses a wish to have a charge dealt with by the youth court.

             (3)  An admission, confession or statement accepting responsibility for a given act or omission made by a young person alleged to have committed an offence as a condition of being dealt with by extrajudicial sanctions shall not be admissible in evidence against the young person in civil or criminal proceedings.

             (4)  Notwithstanding subsection (5), the use of extrajudicial sanctions in respect of a young person alleged to have committed an offence is not a bar to proceedings against the young person under this Act, but

             (a)  where the youth justice court is satisfied on a balance of probabilities that the young person has totally complied with the terms and conditions of the extrajudicial sanctions, the youth justice court shall dismiss a charge against the young person; and

             (b)  where the youth justice court is satisfied on a balance of probabilities that the young person has partially complied with the terms and conditions of the extrajudicial sanctions, the youth justice court may dismiss a charge against the young person where, in the opinion of the court, the prosecution of the charge would, having regard to the circumstances, be unfair, and the youth justice court may consider the young person's performance with respect to the extrajudicial sanctions before making a disposition under this Act.

             (5)  Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent a person from laying an information, obtaining the issue or confirmation of a process or proceeding with the prosecution of an offence in accordance with law.

2004 c47 s38

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Person under 12 years

        5. A person shall not be convicted of an offence in respect of an act or omission on the part of that person while under the age of 12 years.

1984 c2 s5

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Prosecution procedure

        6. (1) Except where it is inconsistent with this Act or the regulations made under this Act, the Provincial Offences Act, with the necessary modifications, applies to an offence alleged to have been committed by a young person and to proceedings under this Act.

             (2)  Proceedings under this Act shall be started in a youth justice court which shall have the powers of a summary conviction court and shall be a court of record.

             (3)  Proceedings started under this Act against a young person may be continued, after the young person becomes an adult, as if the young person had remained a young person.

             (4)  A judge of a youth justice court has the powers of a Provincial Court judge under theProvincial Court Act.

1984 c2 s6; 2004 c47 s38

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Time limit

        7. An information or complaint under this Act may be laid or made on or before a day 12 months from the day when the matter of the information or complaint arose unless another time limit is provided for.

1984 c2 s7

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Notice to parent, etc.

        8. (1) Where a young person is 1st to appear in court charged with an offence, a parent of the young person shall be given a written notice stating

             (a)  the name of the young person in respect of whom it is given;

             (b)  the charge against the young person; and

             (c)  the time and place of the court appearance.

             (2)  Where the whereabouts of the parents of a young person are not known or it appears that no parent is available, a notice under this section may be given to an adult relative of the young person who is known to the young person and is likely to help the young person or, where no relative is available, to another adult who is known to the young person and is likely to help the young person in a way the person giving the notice considers appropriate, and notice given in accordance with this subsection is sufficient notice for the purpose of this section.

             (3)  Where a young person is married, a notice under this section may be given to the spouse of the young person instead of a parent, and a notice given in accordance with this subsection is sufficient notice for the purposes of this section.

             (4)  Where doubt exists as to the person to whom a notice under this section should be given, a youth justice court judge or, where a youth justice court judge is, having regard to the circumstances, not reasonably available, a justice may give directions as to the person to whom the notice should be given, and a notice given in accordance with those directions is sufficient notice for the purpose of this section.

             (5)  A notice under this section shall, in addition to other requirements under this section, include

             (a)  the name of the young person in respect of whom it is given;

             (b)  the charge against the young person and the time and place of appearance; and

             (c)  a statement that the young person has the right to be represented by counsel.

             (6)  A notice under this section may be served personally or may be sent by registered mail.

             (7)  Failure to give a notice in accordance with this section does not affect the validity of proceedings, but where there has been a failure or where none of the persons to whom a notice is given attends court with the young person, a youth justice court judge may

             (a)  adjourn the proceedings in order that the notice be given in the manner and to the person that the judge directs; or

             (b)  dispense with the notice, where, in the opinion of the judge, having regard to the circumstances, notice may be dispensed with.

             (8)  Where a parent does not attend proceedings before a youth justice court in respect of a young person, the court may, where in its opinion the presence of a parent is necessary or in the best interests of the young person, by written order require a parent to attend at any stage of the proceedings, and where the parent fails to attend and it is proved that a copy of the order was served on the parent, a youth justice court may issue a warrant to compel the attendance of the parent.

             (9)  This section does not apply where a young person is charged with an offence that can be dealt with by a summary offence ticket.

1984 c2 s8; 2004 c47 s38

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Appearance of young person

        9. (1) Where a young person against whom an Information is laid first appears before a youth justice court, the court shall

             (a)  read the Information to the young person; and

             (b)  where the young person is not represented by counsel, inform the young person of the right to be so represented.

             (2)  A young person may waive the requirement under paragraph (a) where the young person is represented by counsel.

             (3)  Where a young person is not represented in youth justice court by counsel, the youth justice court shall, before accepting a plea,

             (a)  satisfy itself that the young person understands the charge; and

             (b)  explain to the young person that a plea of guilty or not guilty may be entered to the charge.

             (4)  Where the youth justice court is not satisfied that a young person understands the charge as required under paragraph (3)(a), the court shall enter a plea of not guilty on behalf of the young person and shall proceed with the trial in accordance with subsection 10(2).

1984 c2 s9; 2004 c47 s38

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Guilty plea

      10. (1) Where a young person pleads guilty to an offence and the youth justice court is satisfied that the facts support the charge, the court shall find the young person guilty of the offence.

             (2)  Where a young person pleads not guilty to an offence or where a young person pleads guilty but the youth justice court is not satisfied that the facts support the charge, the court shall proceed with the trial and shall, after considering the matter, find the young person guilty or not guilty or make an order dismissing the charge.

1984 c2 s10; 2004 c47 s38

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Dispositions

      11. (1) Notwithstanding a minimum penalty in an Act or a regulation made under an Act or a municipal regulation or by-law, where a youth justice court finds a young person guilty of an offence, it shall consider a pre-sentence report required by the court, representations made by the parties to the proceedings or their counsel or agents and by the parents of the young person and other relevant information before the court, and the court shall then make 1 of the following dispositions, or a number of them, where they are consistent with each other:

             (a)  by order direct that the young person be discharged absolutely, where the court considers it to be in the best interest of the young person and not contrary to the public interest;

             (b)  impose on the young person a fine not exceeding $500 to be paid at the time and on the terms that the court may fix;

             (c)  order the young person to perform a community service at the time and on those terms that the court may fix;

             (d)  make an order of prohibition, seizure or forfeiture that may be imposed under an Act or a regulation made under an Act or a municipal regulation or by-law where a person is found guilty or convicted of an offence;

             (e)  by order direct that the young person be detained for treatment, subject to the conditions that the court considers appropriate, in a hospital or other place where treatment is available;

              (f)  place the young person on probation for a specified period not exceeding 2 years;

             (g)  commit the young person to custody, to be served continuously or intermittently, for a specified period not exceeding 30 days from the date of the committal; or

             (h)  impose on a young person other reasonable and ancillary conditions that the court considers advisable and in the best interest of the young person and the public.

             (2)  Where a court makes a disposition under subsection (1), the penalty in the Act or the regulation made under the Act or the municipal regulation or by-law does not apply.

             (3)  A disposition made under this section comes into force on the date on which it is made or on the later date that the youth justice court specifies.

             (4)  A disposition under this section shall not continue in force for more than 2 years and, where the youth justice court makes more than 1 disposition at the same time in respect of the same offence, the combined duration of the dispositions shall not exceed 2 years.

             (5)  Where more than 1 disposition is made under this section with respect to different offences committed by a young person, the continuous combined duration of the dispositions shall not exceed 3 years.

             (6)  A disposition made under this section continues in effect, in accordance with its terms, notwithstanding that the person against whom it is made is or becomes an adult.

             (7)  Where a youth justice court makes a disposition under this section, it shall state its reasons for doing so in the record of the case and shall on request

             (a)  provide a copy of the disposition; and

             (b)  provide the transcript or copy of the reasons for the disposition

to the young person in respect of whom the disposition is made, the young person's counsel, the young person's parent and the prosecutor.

             (8)  A disposition shall not be made in respect of a young person that results in a punishment that is greater than the maximum punishment that would be applicable to an adult who has committed the same offence.

             (9)  Before making an order of committal to intermittent custody under paragraph (1)(g) a youth justice court shall require the prosecutor to make available to the court for its consideration a report of the provincial director or a delegate of the provincial director as to the availability of a place of custody in which an order of intermittent custody can be enforced and where the report discloses that no place of custody is available, the court shall not make an order.

           (10)  Where a young person fails to comply with a disposition made under this section, the youth justice court may by notice, summons or warrant bring the young person before the court and the court may cancel the disposition and make whatever new dispositions it considers appropriate.

1984 c2 s11; 2004 c47 s38

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Fine: ability to pay

      12. (1) A youth justice court shall, in imposing a fine on a young person or in making an order against the young person for the payment of money or restitution, have regard to the present and future means of the young person to pay.

             (2)  A young person upon whom a fine is imposed may, where the Lieutenant-Governor in Council has established a program for that purpose, discharge the fine in whole or in part by earning credits for work performed.

             (3)  A program referred to in subsection (2) shall determine the rate at which credits are earned and may provide for the manner of crediting amounts earned against the fine and other matters necessary for or incidental to carrying out the program.

             (4)  An order may not be made for the performance of services by the young person unless the youth justice court is satisfied that

             (a)  the young person against whom the order is made is a suitable candidate for an order; and

             (b)  the order does not interfere with the normal hours of work or education of the young person.

             (5)  An order may not be made for the performance of personal services or community services unless those services can be completed in 240 hours or less and within 12 months of the date of the order.

             (6)  An order may not be made for personal services or community services unless the youth justice court is satisfied that the person or organization for which the services are to be performed has agreed to the services.

1984 c2 s12; 2004 c47 s38

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Consent to treatment

      13. (1) Notwithstanding paragraph 11(1)(e), an order may not be made directing a young person to be detained for treatment unless the youth justice court has secured the consent of the young person, the parents of the young person and the place where the young person is to be detained for treatment.

             (2)  The youth justice court may dispense with the consent of a parent required under subsection (1) where it appears that the parent is not available or where the parent is not, in the opinion of the court, taking an active interest in the proceedings.

1984 c2 s13; 2004 c47 s38

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Procedure for custody order

      14. (1) Notwithstanding paragraph 11(1)(g), an order may not be made committing a young person to custody unless the youth justice court has received and considered a pre-sentence report.

             (2)  A pre-sentence report ordered by a youth justice court judge may be oral or in writing and shall include those matters that the judge directs.

             (3)  Where a pre-sentence report made in respect of a young person is submitted to a youth justice court in writing the court

             (a)  shall give a copy of the report to

                      (i)  the young person,

                     (ii)  a parent of a young person, where the parent is in attendance at the proceedings against the young person,

                    (iii)  counsel representing the young person, and

                    (iv)  the prosecutor; and

             (b)  may give a copy of the report to a parent of the young person not in attendance at the proceedings against the young person where the parent is, in the opinion of the court, taking an active interest in the proceedings.

1984 c2 s14; 2004 c47 s38

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Conditions in probation order

      15. (1) The following conditions shall be included in a probation order made under this Act:

             (a)  that the young person bound by the probation order keep the peace and be of good behaviour;

             (b)  that the young person appear before the youth justice court when required by the court to do so; and

             (c)  that the young person notify the provincial director or the social worker assigned to the young person's case of a change of address or a change in a place of employment, education or training.

             (2)  A probation order made under this Act may include the following conditions that the youth justice court considers appropriate in the circumstances of the case:

             (a)  that the young person bound by the probation order report to and be under the supervision of the provincial director or person designated by the director or by the youth justice court;

             (b)  that the young person remain within the territorial jurisdiction of 1 or more courts named in the order;

             (c)  that the young person make reasonable efforts to obtain and maintain suitable employment;

             (d)  that the young person attend school or other place of learning, training or recreation as is appropriate, where the court is satisfied that a suitable program is available for the young person at the place;

             (e)  that the young person live with a parent, or other adult that the court considers appropriate who is willing to provide for the care and maintenance of the young person; or

              (f)  that the young person comply with other reasonable conditions set out in the order that the court considers desirable, including conditions for securing the good conduct of the young person and for preventing the commission by the young person of other offences.

             (3)  Where the youth justice court makes a probation order under this Act, it shall

             (a)  read the order to the young person bound by the probation order;

             (b)  explain to the young person the purpose and effect of the order and ascertain that the young person understands it; and

             (c)  give a copy of the order to the young person and to a parent of the young person, where the parent is in attendance at the proceedings against the young person.

             (4)  Where the youth justice court makes a probation order under this Act, it may give a copy of the order to a parent of the young person not in attendance at the proceedings against the young person where the parent is, in the opinion of the court, taking an active interest in the proceedings.

             (5)  After a probation order has been read by or to and explained to a young person, the young person shall endorse the order acknowledging receipt of a copy of the order and acknowledging the fact that it has been explained to the young person.

             (6)  The failure of the young person to endorse a probation order under subsection (5) does not affect the validity of the order.

             (7)  A probation order made under this Act comes into force

             (a)  on the date on which the order is made; or

             (b)  where the young person in respect of whom the order is made is committed to custody, upon the release from custody of the young person.

             (8)  A young person may be given notice orally or in writing to appear before the youth justice court under the probation order.

             (9)  Where a young person to whom written notice is given to appear before the youth justice court does not appear at the time and place named in the notice and it is proved that a copy of the notice was served on the young person, a youth justice court may issue a warrant to compel the appearance of the young person.

1984 c2 s15; 2004 c47 s38

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Separation from adults

      16. (1) A young person who is charged with an offence and detained before trial or committed to custody under this Act shall be held separate and apart from an adult who is charged with or convicted of an offence under an Act of the Parliament of Canada or an Act of the Legislature or a regulation made under an Act, or a municipal regulation or by-law.

             (2)  The Lieutenant-Governor in Council may designate facilities to which a young person may be committed to serve a period of custody.

1984 c2 s16

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Transfer between facilities

      17. The provincial director or an appointee of the provincial director may transfer a young person in custody from 1 facility designated for the custody of young persons to another.

1984 c2 s17

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Temporary release

      18. (1) The provincial director or an appointee of the provincial director may, subject to terms or conditions that may be considered desirable, authorize a young person committed to custody under a disposition made under this Act

             (a)  to be released from custody for a period not exceeding 10 days where, in the opinion of the provincial director or the appointee, it is necessary or desirable that the young person be absent, with or without escort, for medical, compassionate or humanitarian reasons or for the purpose of the rehabilitation or re-integration of the young person into the community; or

             (b)  to be released from custody on the date and during those hours that may be specified in order that the young person may better carry out employment or improve education or training.

             (2)  The provincial director may revoke an authorization made under subsection (1).

             (3)  Where the provincial director revokes an authorization for a young person to be released from custody or where a young person fails to comply with a term or condition of release from custody under this section, the young person may be arrested without warrant and returned to custody.

1984 c2 s18

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Transfer

      19. (1) Where agreement has been made between the province and another jurisdiction in Canada , the provincial director may arrange for appropriate authorities in the other jurisdiction to assume supervision of a young person who is subject to an order of a youth justice court except an order committing the young person to custody.

             (2)  Where a transfer is made and the young person complies with the terms and conditions determined by the provincial director, the young person is considered to have complied with the disposition order of the youth justice court.

1984 c2 s19; 2004 c47 s38

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Publication restricted

      20. (1) A person shall not publish a report of

             (a)  an offence committed or alleged to have been committed by a young person; or

             (b)  a hearing, adjudication, disposition or appeal concerning a young person who committed or is alleged to have committed an offence,

in which the name of the young person, a person under 16 years of age aggrieved by the offence or who appeared as a witness in connection with the offence, or in which an information serving to identify the person, is disclosed.

             (2)  A person who contravenes subsection (1) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction and liable to a fine of not more than $1,000 and, in default of payment, to imprisonment for a term of not more than 3 months.

1984 c2 s20

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Persons excluded

      21. (1) Where a youth justice court is of the opinion

             (a)  that evidence or information presented to the court would be seriously injurious or seriously prejudicial to

                      (i)  the young person who is being dealt with in the proceedings,

                     (ii)  a person under 16 years of age who is a witness in the proceedings, or

                    (iii)  a person under 16 years of age who is aggrieved by or the victim of the offence charged in the proceedings; or

             (b)  that it would be in the best interest of public morals, the maintenance of order or the proper administration of justice to exclude members of the public from the court room,

the court may exclude a person from all or part of the proceedings where the court considers that person's presence to be unnecessary to the conduct of the proceedings.

             (2)  A court shall not, under subsection (1), exclude from proceedings under this Act

             (a)  the prosecutor;

             (b)  the young person who is being dealt with in the proceedings, the parent or counsel of or an adult helping the young person;

             (c)  the provincial director or a representative of the provincial director; or

             (d)  a social worker to whom the young person's case has been assigned.

1984 c2 s21; 2004 c47 s38

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Disclosure of records

      22. (1) A record maintained by the police, a court, the provincial director, a government department or agency of an investigation or charge concerning an offence by a young person shall not be disclosed unless the disclosure is desirable in the interest of the proper administration of justice.

             (2)  Subsection (1) does not apply to a record concerning a conviction for an offence by a young person contrary to the Highway Traffic Act.

1984 c2 s22; 1990 c50 s1

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Lapse of conviction

      23. (1) Notwithstanding another Act, a conviction of a young person of an offence lapses and stops having effect when 3 years have elapsed from the day when the conviction was first entered by a court having original or appellate jurisdiction over the offence.

             (2)  Nothing in this section affects the liability of the young person convicted of an offence to a disposition imposed by or in respect of the conviction at the date of the conviction.

             (3)  Where a conviction for an offence has lapsed under this section, the person who was convicted of the offence is not required to

             (a)  disclose the fact that the person was convicted of the offence; or

             (b)  answer affirmatively or negatively a question tending to disclose the fact that the person was convicted of the offence.

             (4)  Where this section conflicts with an Act or a regulation made under that Act or a municipal regulation or by-law with respect to the effect of a conviction of an offence, this section prevails.

1984 c2 s23

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Regulations

      24. The Lieutenant-Governor in Council may make regulations

             (a)  designating a court as a youth justice court for the purpose of this Act and prescribing rules regulating the practice and procedure to be followed by a youth justice court;

             (b)  prescribing forms for the purpose of this Act;

             (c)  respecting facilities where young persons may be detained in custody; and

             (d)  generally, to give effect to the purpose of this Act.

1984 c2 s24; 2004 c47 s38

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Rules of youth justice court

      25. (1) A youth justice court may, with the concurrence of a majority of the judges present at a meeting held for the purpose and subject to the approval of the Lieutenant-Governor in Council, establish rules of court consistent with this or another Act or with regulations made under section 24 regulating proceedings within the jurisdiction of the youth justice court.

             (2)  Rules under subsection (1) may be made

             (a)  generally, to regulate the duties of the officers of the youth justice court and other matters considered expedient to reach the ends of justice and carry into effect this Act;

             (b)  subject to regulations made under paragraph 24(a), to regulate the practice and procedure in the youth justice court; and

             (c)  to prescribe forms to be used in the youth justice court where not otherwise provided for by this Act.

             (3)  Rules of court that are made under the authority of this section are subordinate legislation for the purposes of the Statutes and Subordinate Legislation Act.

1984 c2 s25; 2004 c47 s38