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It is hard enough for teenagers to be charged with a crime, but when that alleged crime is violent, the penalties, stigma and serious consequences become even more severe. Teenagers make mistakes and, sometimes, those mistakes may even be criminal, but it is our responsibility as a society to have teenagers learn from their mistakes. It does not serve us and it certainly does not serve the teenagers to have them locked up and removed from society.
Unfortunately, a group of four Greater Toronto Area teenagers are facing a slew of charges following what police are calling a series of violent robberies. According to The Globe and Mail, at least two of the teens were responsible for seven robberies in the GTA. At some point, two more teens were recruited, say police.
Apparently the Toronto, Ajax and Oshawa teens all attend the same high school and have been in trouble previously, which means that if they are convicted, they could develop a criminal record and stigma that will be hard to shake. Finding competent and experienced criminal defence lawyers may help them escape some of the fallout surrounding the charges.
This is not to say that they should be able to walk away from this incident if they are indeed guilty, but if they are innocent, sensational coverage of these crimes will likely be detrimental to their reputations. Even if they are eventually acquitted, they may have to deal with suspicion and distrust.
The teenagers, three of whom are 17 and one of whom is 18, were being held in police custody at the time of publication.
Source: The Globe and Mail, “Four teens charged in series of violent bank robberies in Toronto, surrounding area,” Dakshana Bascaramurty, Feb. 28, 2014