Scope of pilot project

For the purpose of the pilot and subject to limitations in the prosecution Referral Guidelines, all matters coming before the criminal courts are eligible and may be considered for a restorative justice process. The use of restorative justice may happen at all

stages of the criminal justice system (from pre-charge to post-sentencing). However, for the purpose of this pilot project, the focus is on matters that are already before the Court, i.e., post-charge to pre-sentencing.

The Committee will maintain a roster of Restorative Justice service providers that will be shared with the public and used by parties to determine appropriate service providers given the circumstances of the case and the parties involved.

General criteria for considering

  • The offender acknowledges responsibility;
  • The facts of the offence are agreed upon by all;
  • There is voluntary, informed consent by all participating parties; and
  • The process is without prejudice and all information shared is confidential, meaning that it can never be used in any legal proceeding.

If a matter is determined to be appropriate for restorative justice, counsel will advise the Court and the file will be adjourned to a later date for follow-up after completion of the process.

Agreements

Any agreement reached between the victim and the offender must be entered into voluntarily by both parties. The agreement will contain clear terms, meet the needs of the parties, and be reasonable and realistic. The agreement will be monitored by the service provider until complete.

If an offender is on release conditions pending the outcome of the restorative justice process, those conditions will remain in effect. If the process results in a probation order, those terms remain in effect throughout any terms of the agreement. Any breach of terms or conditions may result in further criminal proceedings.

The service provider will provide a written update to counsel that can be shared with the sentencing judge and, if appropriate, may make submissions in court. The judge retains the discretion to determine the ultimate sentence and is not required to incorporate any of the suggestions made into the final sentencing decision.

If an agreement is not reached, then the matter goes back to court. In this case, nothing that was said or done in the restorative justice process can be used in court.

Where and when

Referrals to restorative justice will be made to one of the agencies identified on the roster.

There is no expectation that service providers take on any referral. They will be at liberty to determine if a case is appropriate for their community or agency. Agencies may determine after interviewing the victim and offender that the matter is not suitable for an RJ process.

In cases where referrals are made for more serious criminal matters, these may have to be referred to specific programs or service providers who are trained to adjudicate such matters. Referrals will be limited to communities with existing programs.

Post pilot

An evaluation of the referrals to restorative justice and the outcomes will be conducted so as to determine whether to expand the program in the future and how to improve it.