City of Burnaby, 4949 Canada Way, Burnaby B.C. V5G 1M2
OFFICE OF THE CITY CLERK
1. THAT the Community Policing Committee of Council support Bill C-397 REPORT Offences under the Criminal Code of Canada can be categorized three ways:
Generally speaking summary conviction offences are considered less serious and the manner in which the legal system treats them reflects this. A police officer must find the suspect committing the offence in order to arrest and charges have to be laid within six months of the occurrence. There is no authority under the Identification of Criminals Act to fingerprint or photograph the accused for a summary conviction offence. Unless otherwise provided by law, the maximum penalty available upon summary conviction is a fine of two thousand dollars, imprisonment for six months, or both. The 'street' prostitution offences set out in s.213 of the Criminal Code (eg. impeding pedestrian and vehicular traffic and communication for the purposes of prostitution), and some bawdy house offences set out in s.210 (2) Criminal Code (eg. found in, transporting to. or being a landlord permitting a bawdy house) are summary conviction offences.
Dual procedure offences are those that provide for the option of either proceeding via summary conviction or by indictment and the penalties and legal procedures vary according to the option selected. This is a decision made by Crown Counsel during the charge approval process and is contingent upon the circumstances surrounding the offence. However prior to the charge being laid, from a police point of view the offence is treated as indictable. This allows the police officer to arrest a suspect not only found committing, but also where there are reasonable and probable grounds to believe an offences has been committed. Police also have the authority to fingerprint and photograph the accused. At present there are no prostitution-related offences that are dual procedure.
Indictable offences are the most serious and carry the greatest penalties upon conviction. Unlike summary conviction, there are no time limitations on proceeding with indictable offences. Otherwise, the same particulars outlined for dual procedure offences apply to indictment. Indictable prostitution-related offences are s.210 Criminal Code (Keeping a common bawdy house) and s.212 Criminal Code ('pimping' offences).
Bill C-397 proposes s.213 of the Criminal Code be made dual procedure, the reasoning set out in the attached correspondence from Eric Lowther, Member of Parliament for Calgary Centre. I agree with this proposal, primarily due to the fingerprinting and photographing provisions of the Identification of Criminals Act that would become available through this change rather than any increase in penalty or police priority it would afford. Historically the latter has depended more on the circumstances of the problem giving rise to enforcement rather than the nature of the criminal law.
However tracking of persons involved in the sex trade is difficult under current law. In regard to prostitutes, we often have a hard time accuratetly identifying these people. Many don't carry picture ID and provide false names upon arrest to avoid being associated to other charges or identified as under age. Most are transient and will move to anothe jurisdiction upon being charged or convicted and in the absence of a criminal record it can be impossible to determine the full extent of their involvement in the sex trade. With reference to 'johns,' it's an unfortunate truth that many prey on upon prostitutes. Photographing and fingerprinting them upon arrest would assist in the identification and monitoring of violent offenders, while at the same time offering the potential deterrence of a criminal record.
|About Bill C-397...|
Created: October 7, 1998|
Last modified: October 12, 1998
Commercial Sex Information Service|
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