INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION
It is not a defense to a charge related to sexual exploitation of minors unless the accused took reasonable steps to ascertain the minors age.
172.1(4) It is not a defence to a charge under paragraph (1) (a), (b) or (c) that the accused believed that the person referred to in that paragraph was at least eighteen years of age, sixteen years or fourteen years of age, as the case may be, unless the accused took reasonable steps to ascertain the age of the person.
Section 172.1(4) of the Criminal Code of Canada deals with the offence of luring a child. This section prohibits anyone from communicating with a child under the age of 18 for the purpose of engaging in any type of sexual activity. The section specifically prohibits communication through the internet, as well as other digital and electronic means. The section creates strict liability, meaning that it does not matter whether the accused believed the child was actually 18 years of age or older. Even if the accused believed the child was of legal age, if they did not take reasonable steps to ascertain the actual age of the child, they can still be found guilty of the offence. This provision is meant to deter individuals from engaging in any type of sexual activity with minors and to ensure that they take steps to verify the age of the individual they are communicating with. Reasonable steps to ascertain the age of the person could include asking for proof of age, such as a driver's license or passport, or verifying the age with other sources, such as the individual's parents or school administration. Failing to take such steps could result in a conviction, even if the accused did not intend to engage in sexual activity with a minor. In summary, Section 172.1(4) is an important provision in the Canadian Criminal Code which aims to protect children from online predators. It emphasizes the importance of taking reasonable steps to verify the age of individuals with whom one communicates, in order to prevent accidental or wilful sexual activity with minors.
Section 172.1(4) of the Criminal Code of Canada establishes an important principle in the criminal law: ignorance of a victim's age is not a defence to certain sexual offences, unless the accused took reasonable steps to ascertain the age of the person. This provision applies to three specific offences under section 172.1(1): (a) sexual exploitation of a young person; (b) invitation to sexual touching of a young person; and (c) making sexually explicit material available to a young person. The purpose of this provision is to hold adults accountable for their actions towards minors, and to prevent them from using a mistaken belief about age as an excuse for engaging in sexual activity with young people. It recognizes that minors are vulnerable and should be protected from sexual exploitation and abuse. This protection is particularly important in the digital age, where young people are easily accessible through social media and other online platforms. The provision also acknowledges that adults have a responsibility to take reasonable steps to ascertain the age of the person they are interacting with, especially if there are indications that the person might be a minor. This can include asking for identification, checking social media profiles, or engaging in conversation with the person to learn more about them. If an accused fails to take reasonable steps to ascertain the age of the person, they cannot claim ignorance as a defence if they are later charged with a sexual offence. However, the provision also raises some issues. For example, what constitutes "reasonable steps" to ascertain the age of a person? This is not defined in the Criminal Code, and it can be open to interpretation by the courts. Some accused persons may argue that they did take reasonable steps, but were nonetheless mistaken about the person's age. Others may claim that they were misled by the person themselves, who may have lied about their age or otherwise misrepresented themselves. Another potential issue is the question of consent. While young people under the age of consent (which is 16 in Canada) cannot legally consent to sexual activity, some may still engage in such activity willingly and without coercion. This can lead to controversial cases where an adult who had consensual sexual activity with a young person, believing them to be over the age of consent, is charged with a sexual offence. While the law aims to protect young people from exploitation and abuse, it must also balance the rights of adults to engage in consensual sexual activity with those of legal age. In conclusion, section 172.1(4) of the Criminal Code of Canada is an important provision that seeks to protect young people from sexual exploitation and abuse. It holds adults accountable for their actions towards minors and requires them to take reasonable steps to ascertain the age of persons they interact with. However, it also raises some issues that must be carefully considered by the courts, such as what constitutes "reasonable steps" and the role of consent in cases involving mistaken belief about age.
Section 172.1(4) of the Criminal Code of Canada outlines an important provision with regards to charges under paragraph (1) (a), (b) or (c) of this section. The provision states that it is not a defence to a charge under this section that the accused believed that the person referred to in that paragraph was of a certain age, unless reasonable steps were taken to ascertain the age of the person. This provision creates many strategic considerations for individuals facing charges for sexual offences involving minors. One of the first strategic considerations for individuals in this situation is the need for a strong legal defense. A criminal defense lawyer can help the accused to navigate the complexities of the criminal justice system, ensure that the accused's legal rights are protected, and work to reduce the severity of any charges that may be leveled against them. A legal defense could also involve the gathering of evidence that disproves the allegations against the accused or challenges the prosecution's case in court. Another key consideration for individuals accused of sexual offences involving minors is the need to avoid making any statements or taking any actions that could be viewed as incriminating. Law enforcement officials and prosecutors will often use a variety of tactics to gather evidence against the accused, including interrogation, surveillance, and undercover operations. It is essential for accused individuals to be aware of their rights and to exercise caution when interacting with law enforcement officials. A third strategic consideration for individuals facing charges under section 172.1(4) is the importance of engaging in ongoing communication with their legal counsel. This can include discussing any new evidence that is discovered, exploring potential plea bargain deals, and strategizing for the eventual trial. Ongoing communication with legal counsel can help to ensure that the accused is well-informed and fully prepared for each step of the legal process. In terms of strategies that could be employed by individuals facing charges under section 172.1(4), there are several approaches that could be effective. One potential strategy is to argue that the accused did, in fact, take reasonable steps to ascertain the age of the person, even if mistaken. This could involve presenting evidence that the accused relied on the representation of others, or that the accused took proactive steps to verify the age of the alleged victim. Another approach may be to seek a plea bargain deal with the prosecution. A plea bargain deal may involve the accused agreeing to plead guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for reduced penalties or other incentives. This strategy can be particularly effective in cases where the evidence against the accused is strong, and the likelihood of conviction at trial is high. Ultimately, the most effective strategies for dealing with charges under section 172.1(4) of the Criminal Code will depend on the individual circumstances of each case. By working closely with legal counsel and exploring all available options, individuals facing these charges can receive the best possible outcome and move on from this difficult situation.