Pre-trial detention is when a young person is detained, or held in custody, after an arrest. If a youth is in pre-trial detention, the youth will appear before a justice of the peace for a judicial interim release hearing within 24 hours of being arrested or as soon as possible. Judicial interim release means that the youth is released into the community under certain conditions.
If a young person is denied release by a justice of the peace at a show cause hearing, he or she may get another chance at release by appearing before a youth justice court judge (section 33 (1)). In order for the young person to be detained in custody, the crown prosecutor must prove that:
These criteria make it clear that young persons cannot be detained for their own protection, mental health concerns or other social issues (section 29(1)), such as having no home to go to or concerns of a young person using drugs or alcohol.
If the crown cannot convince the judge that either of the two concerns is valid, then the judge must release the youth with no conditions, other than signing a form that the youth will appear in court in the future.
If the crown convinces the judge that either of these concerns is valid, the judge has four choices:
Release the youth with conditions that must be followed.
Possible conditions include that the young person must be home by a certain time every night (that is, the young person has a curfew) or that he or she must report regularly to someone such as a police officer while waiting for the trial.
Release the youth once money is deposited to ensure that the youth returns to court.
This money (bail) is meant to guarantee that a youth will return to court and abide by any conditions of release. The money is returned once the youth’s court case is finished, provided that the youth has followed all the conditions and has appeared in court when directed.
Release the youth to the care of a responsible person.