A Charter Reality Check: How Relevant is the Charter to the Justness of Our Criminal Justice System?
Supreme Court Law Review, Vol. 40, No. 2, 2008
22 Pages Posted: 4 Jul 2008
This paper examines how relevant the Charter has been to the justness of our justice system. Because the Charter has become such a pervasive part of our criminal justice system and because it has manifestly been able to achieve just results in some important cases, there is a tendency to assume that what is good for the Charter must be good for the criminal justice system and what ignores the Charter must be bad for the justice system. In this paper, I question these assumptions and argue that some of the greatest successes, as well as some of the greatest failures, of our criminal justice system over the last quarter of a century have had little to do with the Charter. Topics examined include pre and post sentence rates of imprisonment, rates of imprisonment of young people and Aboriginal people, the treatment of crime victims, wrongful convictions, anti-terrorism law and the reform of the Criminal Code.
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