FILE. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)

Federal prosecutors receive new guidelines against prosecuting minor drug offences

Guideline directs prosecutors to focus upon the most serious cases raising public safety concerns

Federal prosecutors are being instructed to criminally prosecute only the most serious drug possession offences and to find alternatives outside the criminal justice system for the rest.

The directive is contained in a new guideline issued by the director of public prosecutions, Kathleen Roussel.

“The approach set out in this guideline directs prosecutors to focus upon the most serious cases raising public safety concerns for prosecution and to otherwise pursue suitable alternative measures and diversion from the criminal justice system for simple possession cases,” it states.

In all instances, the guideline says alternatives to prosecution should be considered if the possession offence involves a person enrolled in a drug treatment court program or an addiction treatment program supervised by a health professional.

The same applies in cases that involve a violation of bail conditions and can be addressed adequately by a judicial referral hearing, as well as cases where the offender’s conduct can be dealt with by an approved alternative measure, including Indigenous and non-Indigenous “restorative justice” responses.

The guideline says criminal prosecution for possession of a controlled substance “should generally be reserved for the most serious manifestations of the offence.” It says cases would be considered serious if a person caught in possession of an illegal drug was engaged in conduct that could endanger the health or safety of others.

READ MORE: B.C. premier asks Trudeau to decriminalize illicit drug possession as deaths climb

READ MORE: ‘Trauma equals addiction’: Why some seek solace in illicit substances


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Criminal JusticeDrugs

Just Posted

Sandstone project could transform southern face of Nanaimo

Seacliff Properties touting 3,000 homes, new commercial and industrial districts

New report finds ‘chronic’ shortage of daycare spaces across Greater Victoria

52 per cent of demand met in the best for six surveyed communities

‘Each step is a prayer’: Ojibwe man walking from Hope to Saanich for healing, reconciliation

‘Kind Lightning’ James Taylor departed Sunday for five days journey

Out on a Limb: What I learned from living through a pandemic

Awesome, I thought, when the pandemic hit, I’ll learn some new skills.

Masks and temperature checks now mandatory to enter Nanaimo’s Woodgrove Centre

Mall says it’s the first in B.C. to put these kind of measures in place

COVID-19: 4 more deaths, 366 new cases in B.C. since Friday

A total of 8,208 people in B.C. have tested positive for COVID-19 since January

Purebred breeders go for a walk in Nanaimo to show off their dogs

Purebred dog breeders sometimes get a bad rap, says event organizer

Victoria man to run marathon after overcoming rare cancer diagnosis

Nigel Deacon was diagnosed with ocular melanoma in 2010

Authors nominated for Victoria Book Prize awards

Finalists for 2020 announced in two categories

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Group wants Parliament, courts to hold social media to same standard as publishers

Daniel Bernhard made the comments shortly after Friends of Canadian Broadcasting released a research paper

B.C. ELECTION: Comox Valley ridings short on voter options as snap election called

Courtenay-Comox riding has two candidates; Mid Island-Pacific Rim only has one

West Shore RCMP seeks video footage after homeowner interrupts Colwood break and enter

Police were called to 600-block of Stornoway Drive late Sunday

VIU Elder College going online with dozens of courses this fall

There are 16 courses in the September session

Most Read