section 490.012(1)

INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION

This section requires individuals convicted of certain criminal offenses to comply with the Sex Offender Information Registration Act.

SECTION WORDING

490.012(1) When a court imposes a sentence on a person for an offence referred to in paragraph (a), (c), (c.1), (d) or (e) of the definition "designated offence" in subsection 490.011(1) or renders a verdict of not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder for such an offence, it shall make an order in Form 52 requiring the person to comply with the Sex Offender Information Registration Act for the applicable period specified in section 490.013.

EXPLANATION

Section 490.012(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada outlines the requirement for a court to impose an order in Form 52 on individuals found guilty or not criminally responsible for certain offences referred to as "designated offences" under section 490.011(1). These offences include various sexual offences, violent offences, and terrorism offences. The purpose of this order is to require individuals to comply with the Sex Offender Information Registration Act (SOIRA) for a specified period. SOIRA is a federal law that requires convicted sex offenders to provide personal information such as their name, address, and place of employment to law enforcement authorities and to report any changes in this information. The applicable period for which an individual must comply with SOIRA is specified in section 490.013 of the Criminal Code of Canada, and ranges from 10 years to life depending on the nature of the offence and the severity of the sentence imposed by the court. The purpose of this requirement is to ensure that law enforcement authorities are aware of the presence of convicted sex offenders and other designated offenders in their communities, and to monitor their activities to prevent any potential reoffending. This information is also used to inform the public of the presence of these offenders and to help them protect themselves and their families. Overall, section 490.012(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada plays a critical role in protecting public safety by ensuring that individuals convicted of certain designated offences are closely monitored and required to comply with SOIRA for a specified period.

COMMENTARY

Section 490.012(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada is an important provision that imposes a mandatory requirement on courts to make an order for an individual who has been convicted of certain serious criminal offences to comply with the Sex Offender Information Registration Act (SOIRA). The applicable offences referred to in the provision include those listed in paragraphs (a), (c), (c.1), (d), or (e) of the definition of "designated offence" under subsection 490.011(1) of the Criminal Code. The purpose of SOIRA is to collect and maintain information on convicted sex offenders, and to make this information available to law enforcement agencies and the public for public safety purposes. The mandatory registration requirement under SOIRA allows law enforcement officials to monitor and track individuals who have been convicted of sexual offences, and to respond proactively to potential threats to public safety. Notably, the mandatory registration requirement under SOIRA is in addition to any other sentence that may be imposed by the court, such as imprisonment or a fine. As such, the registration requirement is an important means of ensuring that individuals who have been convicted of sexual offences are subject to ongoing monitoring and supervision after their release into the community. The applicable period for registration under SOIRA is specified in section 490.013 of the Criminal Code, and varies depending on the nature and severity of the offence. For example, individuals convicted of offences such as sexual interference with a minor or making child pornography are required to register for life, while those convicted of less serious offences may be required to register for a shorter period of time. It is important to note that failure to comply with the registration requirement under SOIRA is a criminal offence under section 490.031 of the Criminal Code, and carries significant penalties including imprisonment. This underscores the seriousness with which the Canadian legal system views the mandatory registration requirement under SOIRA, and further emphasizes its importance for public safety. In conclusion, Section 490.012(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada plays a critical role in ensuring public safety by requiring individuals convicted of certain serious sexual offences to comply with the mandatory registration requirement under SOIRA. By doing so, law enforcement officials are better able to monitor and track individuals who pose a potential threat to public safety, and take appropriate action to mitigate this risk.

STRATEGY

Section 490.012(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada mandates a court to impose an order requiring a person to comply with the Sex Offender Information Registration Act if they are found guilty of designated offences such as sexual assault, sexual interference, and sexual exploitation. This requirement is imposed to ensure public safety and to monitor the activities of the convicted offender to prevent possible reoffending. However, when dealing with this provision, there are strategic considerations that both the prosecution and defence counsel should keep in mind. One of the most crucial considerations is the possible impact of the registration requirement on the convicted offender's reputation and image. Being labelled a sex offender can have enduring and severe social consequences, affecting an offender's job prospects, housing opportunities, and general relationships. For example, an accused person may have a career in a field such as teaching, law enforcement or childcare that would be jeopardized by such a conviction. Another consideration concerns the length of time the accused person has to comply with the registration requirement. Section 490.013(1) mandates that the applicable registration period varies depending on the offence committed, ranging from ten years to life. A ten-year registration requirement can end up being a life sentence for the convicted offender as it attaches a stigma that they may never be able to remove. Moreover, the need to register may force the convicted offender to move from their current residence, which could cause further disruptions in their life. To mitigate these factors, the defence counsel may seek to negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecution, seeking a reduction in the registration period or the offence's severity. Alternatively, they may file an application with the court seeking an exemption from the registration requirement. Counsel may also engage an expert or conduct independent research to rebut the prosecution's claim that the registration requirement is necessary and proportional to the offence committed. In conclusion, section 490.012(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada places an onerous registration requirement on persons convicted of designated sexual offences. For strategic considerations, both the prosecution and defence counsel may need to engage in plea bargaining, identifying mitigating factors, and weighing the underlying facts and evidence. The defence counsel may also argue that the registration requirement is an unjustifiable infringement of the offender's constitutional rights. With strategic consideration, the accused person may avoid or mitigate the potentially life-altering consequences of the registration requirement.