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Although it is clear that teenagers are more than capable of committing crimes, the way in which the courts deal with teenage defendants should be considerably different from how they interact with adults. They do, in some respects, but an overly harsh response to teen crime can prevent teenagers from seeing significant success in their lives. Criminal records could mean no university, limited employment options, and restrictions on housing and social services. For three teenagers arrested on 35 different charges, including marijuana possession, they could be looking at serious consequences.
The teenagers were accused of stealing from a 15-year-old after they lured him to a building near the corner of Steeles Avenue West and Bathurst Street. The young man was there to buy marijuana, it seems, when the other teenagers took his things, according to the CBC.
When police arrested the three teenagers (although four were accused of cornering and stealing from the 15-year-old), they searched one of the teenager’s homes. There they claim to have found marijuana.
In addition to the marijuana charges, the teenagers have been charged with forcible confinement, assault with a weapon, assault, carrying a concealed weapon, pointing a firearm, using a firearm to commit an indictable offence, weapons dangerous and robbery while armed with a firearm. These are serious charges and ones that could mean time in jail or other punishment.
Should these boys be punished? Only if there is credible evidence that overwhelming supports a conviction. Even if the Crown can prove that the teens are guilty, however, it is important that the court recognizes that they are just children and it should find a way to punish them that will not ruin their chances of succeeding in life.
Source: CBC News, “3 teens face 35 drug, weapons charges,” 29 Oct. 2013