Drug Use and Offending

Q11. How are drug offences disposed of in adult and youth courts?

In 2000/2001, one-in-two drug cases[6] in both youth courts and adult courts[7] resulted in a conviction.

High proportion of guilty verdicts for drug possession

Adult Court

In 2000/2001, of the 23,104 drugs cases appearing before adult courts, the majority resulted in a guilty verdict. However, even though a conviction was recorded in 56% of drug cases in adult courts, there are differences across different types of drug offences. For instance, drug trafficking offences had lower proportions of guilty verdicts (49%) than did possession offences (59%), but higher proportions of transfers to Superior Courts (5% versus less than 1%). Still, four-in-ten (41%) drug offences resulted in the charges being withdrawn and less than 1% resulted in an acquittal (see Appendix B, Table 13 for more information).

Youth Court

In youth courts, guilty verdicts were pronounced in similar proportions than in adult courts. In 2000/2001, of the 6,702 cases involving a drug offence in youth courts, slightly more than one-half (57%) resulted in a guilty verdict. Trafficking offences resulted in guilty verdicts in two-thirds of the cases compared to 52% of cases involving possession. Still, two-in-five (40%) drug charges were withdrawn and very few cases were dismissed (2%) or acquitted (1%) (see Appendix B, Table 14 for more information).

Sources

Adult Criminal Courts Survey 2000/2001 and Youth Court Survey 2000/2001, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics.

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