I’m under 18 and charged with a crime. What are my rights?

4. Know your privacy rights

Any interaction you have with the police or a youth court is protected by privacy laws in the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA). Under the YCJA you have privacy rights related to:

  • your youth record
  • sharing information about your case

Records and documents

Youth records are documents about any interactions you have with the police or courts. Youth records are private, confidential records.

Only a small number of people listed in the YCJA are allowed to view those documents. You and your lawyer are always allowed access to your youth record, even after it's sealed. But no one can disclose or share the information that is in your youth record. If anyone shares this information, they may be charged with an under the YCJA.

Media

If you're involved with the police or the youth courts, no one is allowed to publish your name or any information that would identify you. This includes posts or comments in the newspaper or on radio, tv, online, and social media.

The media are allowed to publish information about your case but they can't identify you. For example, they might say that an allegedly happened in a particular neighbourhood, but they cannot say that you were a suspect or that you were charged.

Courtroom privacy

In most youth cases the courtroom is open to the public. Anyone can come into the courtroom and watch. But they are not allowed to tell anyone else outside the courtroom anything that would identify you as a person involved in youth court.

If there is a particular reason you don't want people in the courtroom, you or your lawyer can ask the judge to keep the courtroom private. This might happen if your safety or the fairness of your case is at risk.

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