section 2

INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION

This section defines justice system participant as individuals who play a role in the administration of criminal justice.

SECTION WORDING

2. In this Act, "justice system participant" means (a) a member of the Senate, of the House of Commons, of a legislative assembly or of a municipal council, and (b) a person who plays a role in the administration of criminal justice, including (i) the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and a Minister responsible for policing in a province, (ii) a prosecutor, a lawyer, a member of the Chambre des notaires du Qubec and an officer of a court, (iii) a judge and a justice, (iv) a juror and a person who is summoned as a juror, (v) an informant, a prospective witness, a witness under subpoena and a witness who has testified, (vi) a peace officer within the meaning of any of paragraphs (b), (c), (d), (e) and (g) of the definition "peace officer", (vii) a civilian employee of a police force, (viii) a person employed in the administration of a court, (viii.1) a public officer within the meaning of subsection 25.1(1) and a person acting at the direction of such an officer, (ix) an employee of the Canada Revenue Agency who is involved in the investigation of an offence under an Act of Parliament, (ix.1) an employee of the Canada Border Services Agency who is involved in the investigation of an offence under an Act of Parliament, (x) an employee of a federal or provincial correctional service, a parole supervisor and any other person who is involved in the administration of a sentence under the supervision of such a correctional service and a person who conducts disciplinary hearings under the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, and (xi) an employee and a member of the Parole Board of Canada and of a provincial parole board;

EXPLANATION

Section 2 of the Criminal Code of Canada defines the term "justice system participant," which is used throughout the Act. The section outlines the individuals who are included in this definition, namely, elected officials at various levels of government and individuals who play a role in the administration of criminal justice. This definition encompasses a wide array of individuals, including law enforcement officers, lawyers, judges, jurors, witnesses, informants, and correctional facility employees. It also includes civilian employees of police forces and court administration staff. The inclusion of these individuals in the definition of "justice system participant" highlights the importance of ensuring the integrity of the criminal justice system and protecting those who perform their duties within it. It also emphasizes the accountability and responsibility of these individuals in upholding the Canadian legal system, maintaining fair and impartial treatment for all individuals involved in criminal proceedings, and working towards justice and public safety. Overall, Section 2 lays out a clear definition of the individuals who are considered "justice system participants," which helps to clarify the roles and responsibilities of those involved in administering justice in Canada.

COMMENTARY

Section 2 of the Criminal Code of Canada defines justice system participant" and lists the members and officials that come under this category. This section is essential as it establishes who falls under the category of a justice system participant, and therefore comes under the ambit of the law, including the offenses that apply to them. The definition provides a broad coverage of individuals involved in the Canadian criminal justice system and encompasses a wide range of professionals from elected officials, law enforcement personnel, judges, witnesses, and parole board members. The inclusion of elected officials in the definition is significant as it recognizes that they carry out an essential role as lawmakers and policymakers in the justice system. Legislative members form an integral part of the criminal justice system, and their work includes creating, amending, and enacting laws that govern various aspects of criminal law. By recognizing them as justice system participants, the law acknowledges their responsibility in shaping the Canadian criminal justice system. The definition also includes those who play a role in the administration of justice. This implies all members of the criminal justice system, such as prosecutors, lawyers, judges, and court officers. This category includes the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and provincial ministers responsible for policing. It also covers informants, prospective witnesses, witnesses who have testified, jurors, and persons summoned for a jury's role. These individuals play essential roles in the justice system as they provide information to the court, shape the proceedings, and help determine the outcome of a case. Peace officers hold a critical role in the enforcement of the law. Therefore, the definition acknowledges that anyone involved in law enforcement activities comes under the category of a justice system participant. This includes not only traditional police officers but also other individuals involved in law enforcement such as correctional officers, probation officers, and employees connected to Canada Revenue Agency or Canada Border Services Agency, among others. The final category comprises employees and members of the Parole Board of Canada and provincial parole boards who perform the critical role of determining if a convicted person can be released early or placed on parole. The definition recognizes that they carry out an important role in the administration of justice by determining whether a convicted person poses a threat to society or whether they can be rehabilitated and reintegrated into society. In conclusion, section 2 of the Criminal Code of Canada provides a comprehensive and inclusive definition of who is considered a justice system participant. The definition includes elected officials, law enforcement personnel, judges, witnesses, and parole board members, and covers anyone who plays a role in the administration of justice. The broad coverage of the definition reflects the complex and multifaceted nature of the Canadian criminal justice system and establishes who is liable under the law, including the offenses that apply to them.

STRATEGY

When dealing with Section 2 of the Criminal Code of Canada, it is essential to consider the potential impact of the definition of a justice system participant on the investigation and prosecution of criminal offences. As evidenced by the numerous roles included in the definition, the provision is wide-ranging and has significant implications for the operation of the criminal justice system. Several considerations should be taken into account when dealing with this section of the Criminal Code. One of the most critical considerations is the potential for conflicts of interest, particularly when dealing with public officials or those involved in the administration of justice. The definition encompasses a wide range of individuals, including politicians, lawyers, judges, witnesses, and police officers. As such, it is crucial to exercise caution when dealing with justice system participants to avoid any perception of bias or impropriety. For instance, investigators must be careful not to disclose sensitive information to justice system participants who are not entitled to receive such information. Similarly, special measures may need to be taken to ensure that witnesses are protected from undue influence or intimidation during court proceedings. Another consideration is the potential impact of the definition on the investigative process. For example, if an informant is considered a justice system participant, investigators may need to weigh the potential benefits of using this individual against the risk of inadvertently compromising the integrity of the investigation. Similarly, the inclusion of prospective witnesses in the definition raises concerns about the effects of this provision on witness recruitment and retention, particularly in cases where individuals may be hesitant to come forward with information. Strategies that could be employed to deal with Section 2 of the Criminal Code of Canada include developing clear policies and procedures for investigating and prosecuting offences involving justice system participants. Such procedures may include strict guidelines on information sharing, heightened scrutiny of potential conflicts of interest, and measures to protect the rights of witnesses and other individuals involved in the process. Additionally, training for investigators, prosecutors, and other justice system personnel on the implications of this provision could be useful in ensuring that they are aware of their obligations and responsibilities under the Criminal Code. Overall, dealing with Section 2 of the Criminal Code of Canada requires careful consideration of the potential implications for the investigation and prosecution of criminal offences. Strategies that prioritize transparency, integrity, and the protection of individuals' rights will be critical in ensuring a fair and effective criminal justice system that operates in line with the values of Canadian society.

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