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The Law On Gang-Related Violence In Canadian Criminal Justice System

The Law On Gang-Related Violence In Canadian Criminal Justice System

Canada’s criminal justice system considers gang-related violence as one of the serious offences. Some of the common gang-related violence offences include; assault, robbery, drug trafficking, homicide, extortion, kidnapping, vandalism, street shooting, firearms offenses, and hate crimes.

This blog post is going to discuss the case of R. v. Abdulle where gunshots were fired by a gang. This blog will summarize the Ontario Court of Appeal’s ruling on how offences influenced by gang-related violence are dealt with.

Laws Relating To Gang-Related Violence In Canada

In Canada, gang violence is addressed through various laws and policies at the federal, provincial, and territorial levels. Some of the principal pieces of legislation and measures that relate to gang-related violence in Canada include:

  • Criminal Code of Canada: The Criminal Code of Canada contains provisions that criminalize gang-related activity, such as participation in a criminal organization and conspiracy to commit an indictable offence.
  • Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act: This legislation aims to prevent the use of the financial system for criminal activity, including gang-related activity.
  • Youth Criminal Justice Act: This act provides for the treatment of young persons who are involved in criminal activity, including gang-related activity.
  • Firearms Act: This legislation regulates the possession and use of firearms, which are often used in gang-related violence.

Gang-Related Violence From Shooting

In R. v. Abdulle, a shooting by two members of a gang resulted in the death of Yusuf Ahmed. Mr. Ahmed was struck by a firearm in the neck and died.

It was admitted by one of the accused that a gunshot was fired but in impromptu self-defense. Considering the defense of the accused, the trial judge declared it as a second-degree murder as it was not a deliberate one, and a 15-year period of parole ineligibility was imposed on the accused. When the matter was called by the Ontario Court of Appeal, the appeal was dismissed.

But, What Are The Criteria To Identify If The Offence Is Gang-Related Or Not?

Considering the criteria for determining whether an offence is gang-related can vary depending on the specific circumstances of the case, but five common indicators may include:

  • Association with a known criminal organization: If an individual is known to be associated with a known criminal organization, such as a street gang, this point may be considered that the offence is gang-related.
  • Use of gang symbols or paraphernalia: If an individual is found to be in possession of items such as gang clothing, graffiti, or tattoos, this may be used as evidence that the offence is gang-related.
  • Retaliation or revenge: If the offence appears to be motivated by retaliation or revenge for a previous gang-related incident, this may be considered evidence that the offence is gang-related.
  • Group involvement: If multiple individuals are involved in the offence and are found to be associated with a known criminal organization, this may be taken into account as evidence.
  • The pattern of criminal activity: If an individual has a history of involvement in criminal activity that is consistent with the patterns of activity of a known criminal organization, this may prove that the offence is gang-related.

The Admission Of Evidence Was In Question

In order to determine whether both of the accused were gang-related or not, the admission of evidence proved the association of both accused with the Tandridge Cripz gang and that they had motives of inflicting retaliation. As such, the Police planned to introduce the rap songs recorded by the Tandridge Cripz whose rap lyrics demonstrated the intent of seeking retaliation for past wrongs.

But the acknowledgment of membership of the accused in the Tandridge Cripz wasn’t disputed. The gang was illegally involved in criminal activities such as cracking cocaine and heroin and had a criminal record of inflicting violence and terror as well.

The accused and co-accused stressed on two-point in their appeal:

  • The trial judge committed an error in the admission of evidence
  • The imposition of 15-year parole ineligibility is intense

It was further contended that the action was done in self-defense and that the conduct ought not to be interpreted as being a part of an ongoing conflict between opposing parties.

Now, the question that arose was whether the prejudicial effect can be subsided by the probative value. It was, hence, ruled at the trial court that the admission could permit the elimination of prejudiced rap lyrics but the jury had a right to be aware of the ongoing gang

conflict. It enabled a jury to draw the conclusion that the shooting was a component of a larger cycle of gang violence rather than an act of random act of violence.

Conclusively, it can be said that police have been allotted considerable discretion in the determination of motive in situations involving gang-related violence. Also, the accused’s defense of illegal behavior did not shield him from the hostility of a society alarmed by news of random shootings and gang activity.

Contact The Lawyers At Ayaz Mehdi Professional Corporation

If you require assistance pertaining to any criminal matter, you can reach out to the criminal defense lawyers at Ayaz Mehdi Professional Corporation.

Disclaimer: Kindly note that sending or receiving information through this site does not establish a solicitor-client relationship. Legal matters are fact-specific, and the law is variably changing. The views expressed and the content provided on this blog are general guidelines and cannot substitute for proper legal advice. Schedule your legal consultation by clicking here: Let’s meet!

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