The youth plead guilty to second degree murder in a shooting death. The Crown sought an order that an adult sentence be imposed. The sentencing hearing proceeded by way of an agreed statement of facts. The court considered a pre-sentence report, a forensic assessment and a behaviour summary report concerning the youth’s time in custody. The youth provided letters from his aunt and a former teacher, along with several certificates of completion regarding programs he had taken while in custody.
During a youth murder sentencing, the Crown Attorney will usually seek an adult sentence.
The Crown Attorney argued an adult sentence was necessary to reflect the youth’s high degree of moral culpability. The maximum youth sentence for second degree murder was seven years, comprised of a period of custody of four years, followed by a placement in the community under conditional supervision for three additional years. An adult sentence for second degree murder was life in prison with parole eligibility set at seven years.
Joshua Rogala argued that a youth sentence was appropriate in the circumstances as:
- The youth pled guilty and has spared the witnesses and victim’s family from a trial.
- He had no prior criminal record, and his actions appeared to be out of character.
- The young person had no underlying cognitive, behavioural, emotional or psychological issue.
- He had done well in custody participating in programming and academically accomplishing a great deal.
- The youth set realistic planning and long-term goals.
- He showed insight into his behaviour and acceptable responsibility for his actions.
- He was assessed as a medium risk to re-offend.
The Court of Queen’s Bench denied the Crown Attorney’s application for the youth to be sentenced as an adult. The court concluded a youth sentence was sufficient to hold the young person accountable for his offending behaviour. Joshua Rogala’s argument at the youth murder sentencing was successful.