What Happens When A Young Person Has Been Apprehended For Shoplifting

The scenario when a young person is caught shoplifting is the same as it is for anyone, with one difference.

The person will be apprehended, and the police will be called to lay the charge. The difference is that the parents will also be notified, as required by the Youth Criminal Justice Act. This legislation used to be called the Young Offender’s Act, but it is now called the Youth Criminal Justice Act, and there are provisions in that act that require the parents to be notified. If there is no parent, and no other relative, then an adult who has some type of authority over the child is notified.

In this case, it is not the police who have the discretion to lay a charge or not. The police will charge and then once they get to court, it is the Crown Attorneys who decide what avenue they are going to take. With the new Act, there are extrajudicial sanctions which are a more hands-on type of approach to counselling and rehabilitation as opposed to denunciation and general deterrence. Penal sanctions like jail sentences are very rare.

When young people are charged with shoplifting, the majority of cases are dealt with by way of extrajudicial sanctions.


If you, or someone you care about, is dealing with criminal law issues in the Oshawa, Ontario Region, contact Mitch Engel Barrister & Solicitor for a consultation.

This article is taken from a April 11, 2008 interview with Mitch Engel, Criminal Lawyer with Mitch Engel Barristers Solicitors, Oshawa, Ontario Criminal Law Firm. Note that laws vary from province to province. Please consult with a lawyer in your own area to be sure of the laws and specific issues in your own jurisdiction.