section 171

INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION

It is illegal for anyone with control over premises to knowingly allow a person under 18 to engage in sexual activity prohibited by national laws.

SECTION WORDING

171 Every owner, occupier or manager of premises, or any other person who has control of premises or assists in the management or control of premises, who knowingly permits a person under the age of eighteen years to resort to or to be in or on the premises for the purpose of engaging in any sexual activity prohibited by this Act is guilty of an indictable offence and liable (a) to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of six months if the person in question is under the age of 16 years; or (b) to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of 90 days if the person is 16 years of age or more but under the age of 18 years.

EXPLANATION

Section 171 of the Criminal Code of Canada aims to protect minors from being lured or coerced into engaging in any sexual activity that is prohibited by law. It targets individuals who knowingly permit minors to enter or stay on their premises with the intention of engaging in sexual activities. The section makes it an indictable offence for any owner, occupier, manager, or person who assists in the management or control of premises to facilitate such activities involving minors. The law defines a minor as any person under the age of 18 years. Depending on the age of the minor in question, the punishment for the offence may vary. If the minor is under the age of 16, the offender is liable to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of six months, and if convicted, may face up to five years in prison. For minors aged 16 or 17, the offender is liable to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of 90 days, and if convicted, may face up to two years in prison. The section is notable for its strict liability principle, which means that it is enough for the accused to have knowingly permitted a minor to enter or be on their premises for the purposes of engaging in sexual activity. They do not need to have known the minor's age or to have intended to commit any crime. Given that it is an offence that involves minors, the legal system takes these cases very seriously, and punishments that befall offenders are stringent to deter such illicit activities and promote safe spaces for minors.

COMMENTARY

Section 171 of the Criminal Code of Canada is a provision that focuses on the protection of minors from sexual exploitation. The section outlines the criminal offence of knowingly allowing a person under the age of 18 to be on or resort to premises for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity prohibited by the Act. This provision places a significant responsibility on the owner, occupier, or manager of premises to ensure that minors are not subjected to sexual exploitation. The provision is clear in its message that minors are vulnerable and need protection from being subjected to sexual exploitation. Section 171 makes it illegal for anyone to knowingly permit a person under the age of 18 to engage in sexual activity that is prohibited by the Criminal Code of Canada. The law recognizes the importance of age of consent and criminalizes any sexual activity of this nature, with a minor, regardless of whether or not there was any coercion or use of force involved. The punishment attached to the offense of knowingly permitting a person under the age of 18 to be in or on the premises resorting to engage in prohibited sexual activity is severe. The penalty varies depending on the age of the minor involved. If the person in question is under 16 years of age, the offender can face imprisonment for up to five years and a minimum sentence of six months. For persons between 16 and 18 years of age, the maximum penalty is two years imprisonment and a minimum sentence of 90 days. The implication of this law is that it imposes criminal liability on individuals who knowingly permit minors to engage in sexual activity on their premises. The provision seeks to hold those in a position of authority over minors accountable for their actions. Thus, the onus is on the owner, occupier, manager to ensure that all reasonable steps are taken to prevent access of minors to their premises for the purposes of prohibited sexual activity. The requirement is for a reasonable level of supervision to be provided, and the absence of such supervision may lead to criminal charges. The law's implementation has its challenges, as it often rests on the nature and extent of knowledge that the accused had to permit the particular minor(s) on the premises. Proving mens rea in such cases can also be problematic. Some may argue that a strict liability application would place an unreasonable burden on owners, occupiers, and managers, while others may argue that the provision could be strengthened by expressly imposing a responsibility to monitor and supervise minors on such premises. In conclusion, Section 171 of the Criminal Code of Canada serves as a crucial tool in safeguarding minors from sexual exploitation, and it seeks to hold those in a position of authority accountable for their actions in preventing access of minors to prohibited sexual activity on their premises. The provision is an essential provision in ensuring that there are protective measures in place for minors, and it should be enforced with all seriousness.

STRATEGY

When dealing with Section 171 of the Criminal Code of Canada, there are several strategic considerations that need to be taken into account. These considerations include the potential legal consequences of a conviction, the defenses that can be raised, and the impact of media and public opinion. One of the key strategic considerations when dealing with this section is the potential legal consequences of a conviction. Conviction under this section can result in imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years, and a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of six months if the person in question is under the age of 16 years. For those who are 16 years of age or older but under 18 years of age, the maximum punishment is imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, and a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of 90 days. As a result, anyone charged under this section needs to be aware of the potential severity of the legal consequences and should take steps to mitigate these risks. Another consideration when dealing with this section is the potential defenses that can be raised. The defense of due diligence, for example, can be raised if the accused can show that they took all reasonable steps to prevent the prohibited activity from occurring. Additionally, the defense of mistake of fact can be raised if the accused can show that they had a genuine belief that the activity was not prohibited by law. As such, it is important to work with a legal professional to identify any potential defenses that may apply to the specific case. Along with legal considerations, it is also important to consider the potential impact of media and public opinion. Cases involving Section 171 can be highly sensitive and can attract significant media attention. As such, it is important to have a strategic communication plan in place to address any media attention and ensure that the accused's reputation is protected. This may involve working with a public relations professional to manage any media inquiries and ensure that accurate information is provided to the public. In terms of strategies that could be employed when dealing with this section, one potential approach is to take a proactive approach to preventing the prohibited activity from occurring. This could include implementing policies and procedures to prevent minors from accessing the premises, such as requiring identification or implementing age verification systems. Another strategy is to work closely with legal professionals to identify any potential defenses that may be available. This may include conducting a thorough investigation of the facts of the case, gathering evidence to support any potential defenses, and working with expert witnesses to provide testimony. Overall, when dealing with Section 171 of the Criminal Code of Canada, it is important to take a strategic approach that considers all potential legal consequences, any available defenses, and the potential impact of media and public opinion. By doing so, it may be possible to achieve a favorable outcome and protect the accused's reputation and legal interests.