Young persons, who are between the ages of 12 and 18, and who are alleged to have committed criminal offences are dealt with in the Youth Justice Court.
In Prince Edward Island, the Youth Justice Court is held at the same location as the Provincial Court in Summerside, Charlottetown and Georgetown.
If a young person is required to attend Court, it is essential that a parent or guardian be there with the youth. The Youth Justice Court cannot deal effectively with a youth without the support and involvement of the parents or guardians.
A young person is entitled (and encouraged) to contact a lawyer before the first court appearance. If counsel cannot be afforded, then contact PEI Legal Aid to see if eligible for their assistance. If eligible, a lawyer will be assigned to represent the young person at no charge.
Youth who have committed an offence, but of a less serious nature, who take responsibility and have little or no previous youth record may have their cases diverted to a program called "extra-judicial measures". The Crown would prepare a referral, setting out the terms and conditions for the youth to meet, and an agreement to do so is then signed by the youth. The charge or charges before the Youth Justice Court are then adjourned to give the youth the time to carry out the terms of the agreement. If there are no additional charges, and the conditions are completed, then at the end of the agreement, the Crown would "stay" the charges, meaning they would not proceed any further. If a youth completes the extra-judicial measures agreement, he or she will not have a youth record for those matters. If the youth does not complete the terms of the agreement, or has new charges, then the original charges may be brought back before the Youth Justice Court to be dealt with there by the Judge.
For more information check out CLIA PEI-Youth Justice.