INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION
658(4) In the absence of any certificate, copy, entry or record mentioned in subsection (3), or in corroboration of any such certificate, copy, entry or record, a jury, judge, justice or provincial court judge, as the case may be, may receive and act on any other information relating to age that they consider reliable.
Section 658(4) of the Criminal Code of Canada is an important provision that allows courts to make determinations about a person's age in the absence of any official documentation. The provision grants judges, juries, justices, and provincial court judges the power to receive and act on any other information relating to age that they consider reliable. This information can be used to establish the age of a victim or a perpetrator of a crime. The provision recognizes that official documentation, such as a birth certificate or passport, may not always be available or may not be accurate. In some cases, a person may not have been registered at birth, or their documents may have been lost or destroyed. In other cases, official documentation may not reflect the person's true age. For example, a person may have fraudulently obtained a passport that shows them to be older or younger than their actual age. In such situations, section 658(4) allows courts to consider other reliable information to establish a person's age. This may include testimony from witnesses who knew the person from childhood, medical records, school records, or any other evidence that the court considers credible. The provision emphasizes the importance of ensuring that justice is done, even in situations where age documentation is not available or cannot be relied upon. Overall, section 658(4) is an important provision that recognizes the complexities and challenges of establishing a person's age in the absence of official documentation. It allows courts to use their discretion and consider all available evidence to make an accurate determination of age, and ensures that justice is served.
Section 658(4) of the Criminal Code of Canada is a provision that deals with the evidence required to prove the age of an individual in a criminal trial. It states that if there is no certificate, copy, entry or record that exists to prove the age of the accused, then a jury, judge, justice or provincial court judge may receive and act on any other information that they consider reliable. The provision is significant because in criminal trials, an accused's age is often a key factor in determining the appropriate sentence. The age of an accused can be used to determine whether they are eligible for youth sentencing or adult sentencing, and can also be a mitigating factor in determining the appropriate sentence. The provision acknowledges that there may not always be a certificate, copy, entry or record available to prove an accused's age, particularly if they are a young offender and were not required to provide identification at the time of their arrest. In these cases, it allows the court to rely on other information that is deemed reliable to prove the age of the accused. The determination of what information is reliable is left to the discretion of the jury, judge, justice or provincial court judge. This means that they are able to consider a range of information, including testimony from witnesses who may have knowledge of the accused's age, medical records or other documentation that may provide evidence of the accused's age. However, it is important to note that the provision does not provide a carte blanche to the court to accept any information that they consider reliable. The information presented must be credible and based on objective evidence. The accused also has the right to challenge the evidence presented and to provide their own evidence to support their claim about their age. The provision provides a balance between the need to prove the accused's age, which is often critical in determining the appropriate sentence, and the circumstances that may make it difficult to provide direct evidence of age. It ensures that the court is able to consider all available evidence in making a determination about an accused's age. It is worth noting that in some cases, proving the age of an accused may not be necessary for the purposes of the trial. For example, if the accused is charged with an offence that is not dependent on age, such as theft or assault, their age may not be relevant. In these cases, the provision would not apply. In conclusion, Section 658(4) of the Criminal Code of Canada is a provision that allows the court to rely on information other than a certificate, copy, entry or record to prove the age of an accused. It provides flexibility to the court while simultaneously ensuring that the evidence presented is credible and based on objective evidence. The provision provides a fair and balanced approach to proving the age of an accused in criminal trials.
Section 658(4) of the Criminal Code of Canada is a provision that allows a judge, justice, jury, or a provincial court judge to rely on any information that they consider reliable when there is no certificate, copy, entry, or record regarding the age of an individual. This provision is of particular importance in cases where the age of the accused or victim is a significant factor in determining the offence or the punishment. However, the reliability of the information is crucial, and strategic considerations must be taken into account when dealing with this section of the Criminal Code. One strategic consideration when dealing with section 658(4) is to ensure that the information presented is reliable and can withstand scrutiny. The court is likely to question the credibility and accuracy of any information presented without a corroborating document. As such, it is essential to gather as much information as possible from various sources, including witnesses, medical records, school records, and immigration documents, to increase the reliability of the information. Another strategic consideration is to anticipate challenges to the reliability of the information presented. The defence counsel is likely to scrutinize any information presented and question its accuracy and credibility. Therefore, it is crucial to anticipate such challenges and prepare a robust defence. This may involve consulting with experts such as medical professionals or forensic specialists who can provide additional information or evidence to support the reliability of the information presented. A third strategic consideration is to engage in effective communication with the judge, justice, or jury. Effective communication is essential in presenting the information in a clear, concise, and understandable manner. This will help to ensure that the court can make an informed decision based on the information presented. In terms of strategies that could be employed, one strategy is to use alternative methods to verify the age of the accused or victim. This could include using medical procedures such as x-rays to determine the age of a person's bone structure. This method provides a highly accurate estimate of the age of the accused or victim and can be presented as highly reliable evidence. Another strategy is to use expert witnesses to provide additional information on the age of the accused or victim. Expert witnesses can provide information on the physical characteristics or behaviour of people of various ages. This can help to establish the approximate age of the accused or victim and can be corroborated with other evidence to establish the reliability of the information presented. In conclusion, Section 658(4) of the Criminal Code of Canada can be a valuable tool in cases where the age of an accused or victim is a critical factor. However, it is essential to ensure that the information presented is reliable and can withstand scrutiny. By anticipating challenges, engaging in effective communication, and using alternative methods or expert witnesses, it is possible to employ effective strategies for presenting the information to the court. These strategic considerations and strategies can help to ensure that the court can make an informed decision in cases where Section 658(4) is invoked.