Lesson 3: Legal Rights for Youth

Activities 2

Activity 4: Mimi in Custody

Before students watch the video, have students answer the following pre-questions.

  1. What rights do all people have when they are under arrest?
    • The right to know why you are under arrest
    • The right to get and be represented by a lawyer without delay (“to retain and instruct counsel without delay”)
    • The right not to make any statement to police until they have talked to a lawyer (Anything they tell the police may be used in court.)
  2. What special rights do youth have when they are under arrest?
    • The right to talk to a lawyer and your parents or another adult before they answer questions by police
    • The right to have a lawyer and your parents or another adult with them if the police question them
  3. Do police tell your parents when you are arrested?
    Yes.  If you are arrested, the police are required by law to notify your parent(s) or guardian, whether you want them to or not.
     
  4. Does the lawyer tell your parent what you say?
    The information that you give your lawyer is private.  Your lawyer can’t tell anyone – including your parents, social worker, or the police officer – what you say unless you give your lawyer permission to do so.

Conduct the exercise again at the end of the session. Introduce the scenario as described in the content section and ask participants to identify what things Mimi should do and should not do.

After they have watched the video, fill in the following chart with them. Have students identify rights upon arrest, and distinguish between those rights of all individuals and those rights that are specific to youth.  

Rights upon arrest            

Everyone has these rights Additional rights for youth

Right to know why you are under arrest

Right to get and be represented by a lawyer without delay (“to retain and instruct counsel without delay”)

Right not to make any statement to police until you have talked to a lawyer (Anything you tell the police may be used in court.)

Right to talk to a lawyer and your parents or another adult before you answer questions by police

Right to have a lawyer and your parents or another adult with you if the police question you

 

Note that if youth are arrested, the police are required by law to notify your parent(s) whether you want them to or not.

You may wish to do a role-play about being at the police station. Have youth play: (a) Mimi; and (b) the duty counsel lawyer that Mimi talks to on the telephone. Before you do the role-play, make the following points:

  • If you say anything about the events the police officers are looking into, you are “making a statement.” You are making a statement even if you say you don't know anything about what happened, or say you weren't there or you didn't do it.  It is a statement even if you don't sign anything, or even if the police officers don't write it down at the time.  If you want to make a statement, wait until a lawyer can be there.
  • Some youth who are arrested have a lawyer they can call (their parents can pay for one, or they can pay). Many youth cannot afford a lawyer or don’t know a lawyer. If you don’t have a lawyer, duty counsel are provided free of charge. A duty counsel is a lawyer.
  • If a youth is arrested:
    • You can call a duty counsel (a lawyer) on the phone at the police station
    • A duty counsel will come in person to see you if the police don’t let you go (if you are arrested at night it will be next morning). You can also get your own lawyer.
    • If the police let you go but you have to go to court, you can see a duty counsel at the courthouse building before you go to court. You can also have your own lawyer to represent you.

While role-playing, here are some points the duty counsel lawyer might make:

  • Sit tight; keep your mouth shut; don’t say anything until you have a lawyer present in person
  • Tell police you do not want to answer any questions until you have a lawyer present in person

Activity 5: Tagging

Before students watch the video, have students answer the following: What can the police or Crown prosecutor can do, apart from putting youth in detention, to hold youth accountable for a crime?

  • Take no more action: This can be done when the parents, victims, or others have already done enough to hold you accountable.
  • Warning you: This is an informal warning.  It is up to the police.
  • Police caution: This is a formal warning.  It is usually a letter sent to you and your parents.  You and your parents may be asked to go to the police station for a talk with a senior officer.
  • Referrals to community programs: You are referred to a community program or agencies that may help you stop committing crimes.  You must agree.  You may talk with a lawyer about this.

Have youth identify as many possibilities as they can. Ask the question again at the end of the session.

Introduce students to the scenario as described in the content section. Ask participants to look for:

  • The names of other ways that can be used to hold youth accountable for having done something wrong
  • The reasons why the youth in this scenario who commits an offence does not go to court

After they have watched the video, review the meaning and purpose of extrajudicial measures by filling in the following chart.

Extrajudicial measure

An extrajudicial measure is a way of dealing with youth who have broken the law, instead of going to court.  (Extra = outside of; judicial = court).

An extrajudicial measure is designed to hold a young person responsible for having done something wrong that does not create a court record. 
An extrajudicial measure is a consequence or a punishment.  It means that the youth will get some punishment but will not go through the court system. 

Call for speakers for and against the following statement: “Youth should not be given extrajudicial measures. They should all have to go to court and face a judge.”

Make the point before you start that youth have a choice whether or not to take part in extrajudicial measures.  Fill in the following chart with the group. Ask the participants to give reasons why they see these impacts as being positive or negative.

Impact of Extrajudical Measures

  Positive Negative
On youth

 

 

On the community

 

 

On the justice system