section 83.24

INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION

Proceedings for terrorism or offences under section 83.12 require consent from the Attorney General.

SECTION WORDING

83.24 Proceedings in respect of a terrorism offence or an offence under section 83.12 shall not be commenced without the consent of the Attorney General. 2001, c. 41, s. 4.

EXPLANATION

Section 83.24 of the Criminal Code of Canada sets an important legal condition for the prosecution of certain crimes related to terrorism. This provision requires that no proceedings for a terrorism offense or an offense under section 83.12 of the Criminal Code may be commenced without the consent of the Attorney General. The Attorney General's consent is a legal pre-requisite that must be obtained in advance of the commencement of all terrorism-related proceedings. This is a necessary safeguard against unwarranted or improper prosecutions that could have serious consequences for individuals. It also ensures that the prosecution of terrorism-related crimes are done in a way that maintains public trust and confidence in the criminal justice system. This provision is significant in the specific context of terrorism because terrorism is considered to be a crime that has broader implications beyond the individuals involved. The need for the Attorney General's consent ensures that the prosecution of these offences is not only a matter of individual wrongdoing, but involves concerns for national security and public safety. This measure provides an additional layer of oversight to help ensure that the decision to prosecute is reasonable, necessary and proportionate. Overall, section 83.24 of the Criminal Code of Canada is an important legal safeguard that ensures the proper legal oversight over terrorism prosecutions, protects individual rights and freedoms, and maintains public trust in the Canadian criminal justice system.

COMMENTARY

Section 83.24 of the Criminal Code of Canada is a provision that grants the Attorney General the power to give or withhold consent to commence proceedings in respect of a terrorism offence or an offence under section 83.12. This section of the Criminal Code of Canada was introduced following the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States in 2001. It is designed to give the government greater discretion and control in the prosecution and investigation of terrorism-related offences. This section is significant because it affects the ability of law enforcement agencies to act on terrorism-related offences, and it limits the rights of individuals who are accused of terrorism to a fair and open trial. It gives the Attorney General the power to regulate the initiation of proceedings related to terrorism offences by requiring prior consent before charges are laid. This provision is designed to establish an additional level of scrutiny before a prosecution takes place, serving to protect the integrity of investigations and the accuracy of evidence. One of the reasons that this provision exists is to make sure that there is no abuse of power when investigating and prosecuting terrorism offences. By creating a system in which the Attorney General can provide or refuse consent based on the evidence presented, Canada's government can ensure that the rights of the accused are being protected, and that the charges meet the appropriate evidentiary standard. This process helps to promote transparency and accountability in the criminal justice system. However, there are many criticisms of the use of this provision. The first concern is that there are no objective criteria for determining when consent will be granted or denied. In practical terms, this means that the decision is made at the discretion of the Attorney General, whose office might be influenced by political factors. There is no transparency on the process used to grant or refuse consent, leaving room for abuse of power and political interference. Another concern is that this provision can lead to unnecessary delays and increased costs in the prosecution of terrorism cases. In cases where the Attorney General refuses consent, there may be an extended time period during which an investigation continues. It may be difficult for a case to proceed if consent is not granted, as it is the Attorney General who ultimately has control over the timing and duration of a prosecution. This can unfairly delay the prosecution of charges and can result in a high-cost investigation that cannot be brought to trial. Overall, Section 83.24 of the Criminal Code of Canada is a provision that raises significant concerns about the protection and promotion of civil liberties. It is important to remember that decisions on whether to prosecute individuals should be made on substantive criteria and not on their possible political impact. While there may be valid reasons for some restrictions on the prosecution of terrorism offences, the government must also weigh the potential harms this provision might create. An approach that relies on the expertise of law enforcement agencies as well as judicial review could potentially be a more balanced approach that achieves a fair and effective response to terrorism, whilst still upholding civil rights.

STRATEGY

Section 83.24 of the Criminal Code of Canada brings an additional layer of complexity to the proceedings related to terrorism offences or offences as per section 83.12. This section confers the power to initiate terrorism-related proceedings upon the Attorney General and makes their consent indispensable to commence them. This creates a unique set of strategic considerations for those looking to deal with this section of the Criminal Code. The first major consideration is that the consent of the Attorney General is required to commence any terrorism-related proceedings. This means that the Attorney General possesses immense power and discretion in initiating such proceedings. This requires an understanding of the current political climate and public opinion as the Attorney General will have to consider various factors before giving the consent. Another strategic consideration is that the Attorney General will have to weigh the needs for a criminal investigation against national security and international considerations. This requires balancing competing interests and requires understanding various security issues to make the right decisions. Some factors that may be considered in this regard include the offense's impact, its connection with other criminal activity, whether the party under investigation has planned, participated in, or supported terrorist activities. Further, government authorities and legal professionals should also be mindful of the impact of initiating terrorism proceedings under Section 83.24. Terrorism proceedings are usually high-profile and tend to attract a significant amount of media attention. As such, they can instigate fear and panic among the public, which, in turn, may affect confidence in the security apparatus of the government. It is, therefore, essential to handle terrorism proceedings with delicacy and to have a clearly articulated communications strategy to avoid fanning public anxieties unnecessarily. One possible strategy for dealing with this section is to have frequent consultations with the Attorney General and maintain a close working relationship with them. Law enforcement agencies should also have a clear understanding of the factors that the Attorney General could consider while granting consent. These agencies can pull together intelligence reports and other relevant data that can be used to inform decision-making. Building good channels of communication with governments, including reporting any problems or threats in real-time, is also necessary to build trust and facilitate faster decision-making on terrorism-related matters. Another approach could be to develop clear-cut procedures and guidelines for initiating terrorism proceedings. This will ensure a coherent and consistent approach to the management of these legal matters and reduce the likelihood of political and public backlash. Having well-established procedures ensures that due processes are followed, and ethical considerations are adhered to. In conclusion, Section 83.24 of the Criminal Code creates a unique set of strategic considerations for stakeholders dealing with terrorism-related issues. With the Attorney General's consent being a prerequisite, understanding the legal, political, and security issues that impact the decision-making process is vital. Appropriate strategies that include the maintenance of a close working relationship with the Attorney General, building clear procedures, and communication channels, can help to facilitate effective decision-making in times of potential terrorist threats.