Youth Sentencing Options

Scenario

Regina v. Angie Sam Sentencing Hearing

Charge of Forcible Confinement (Criminal Code of Canada, Section 279 (2))

You Be the Judge
Pretend you are a judge who is sentencing Angie Sam for unlawful confinement.

First, read the circumstances of the offence, which would be presented to the judge by Crown counsel. Then look at the previous criminal history of the accused.

About the Crime
The confinement occurred on May 21, 2000 in an apartment at 123 South Street in the City of Vancouver, British Columbia from 12 noon to 3 p.m. The night before the confinement, the victim, Sally John, decided to go out with Angie Sam and two other friends. The victim had been out before with the accused but did not know her very well. The two friends knew the victim for two years. They met at the victim’s residence and left to go out at 10 p.m.

Once on the street, the accused indicated she wanted to fight with the victim. She shoved the victim and hit her in the mouth. The victim refused to fight and they all continued to hang out together. About 4 a.m. they all went to the apartment of a friend of the accused. They slept there and the next morning, when the victim woke, the others were awake and playing cards.

The accused kept saying that they were playing blackjack to see who would get to hit the victim first. At first the victim did not take it seriously. However, when she tried to leave the apartment she was prevented from doing so because the owner of the apartment (a man) was blocking the door. The accused cleared the area in the living room and she hit the victim in the back, knocking her to the floor.

The accused then pulled her by her hair and hit her in the mouth. The victim started to bleed and could not get up from the floor. The two other friends kicked her in the back and head. The accused pushed her head to the floor and asked her to clean up her own blood. The accused smashed the victim’s face repeatedly to the floor. The victim started to black out and lose consciousness. When she came to, the others let her leave the apartment and she ran out and went to a local restaurant to phone the police.

The police attended and found the victim distraught and badly injured. At the hospital her badly split lip required fifteen stitches. She had a loose tooth, swelling and bruising on the side of her head as well as welts and bruising on her back and neck.

Criminal History of the Accused
The accused has a significant history of violence. At the time of this offence, the accused was on probation from a previous offence. This is the third offence of a violent nature in the last year.

First, Angie was sentenced on an assault with a weapon charge. The facts of that case were disturbing because she had someone hold the victim down while she carved her initials on the chest of the victim with a knife. Second, she was sentenced on February 24, 2000 on an assault causing bodily harm charge. She badly beat another girl, injuring her face and neck. Angie was given 60 days in custody with one-year probation.

She was directed to live with her mother and was breaching this term when she committed this offence against Sally John. She was released on the breach and on this current offence on an "undertaking with conditions." After her arrest in July, she was found in breach of that undertaking and was taken into custody. After the bail hearing, she was held in custody until today. She has been in closed custody for three months.

Today, Angie entered a guilty plea and you are the sentencing judge.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What other information would you need to consider in this case before deciding on a sentence? ANSWER: Judges consider the pre-sentence report, victim impact statements and the submissions of both counsel before passing sentence.
  2. What sentencing option would you choose if you only had the above information? Explain why you have chosen that sentencing option using the principles of sentencing and the circumstances of the offence and of the accused.

This tale is based on an actual case. Read the actual sentencing hearing. (You will need Adobe Reader to view the file).