Teenage Naked Photo Ring Case from Nova Scotia

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The goal of the legislation

The goal of the legislation is to make sure that people can exercise their freedom and rights without infringing on those of others. People respect their right to privacy, so it is necessary to get their permission before publishing or broadcasting any of their personal information.

The Canadian legal system and juvenile delinquency

The Canadian legal system has created a juvenile delinquency system to deal with offenses done by minors as part of its commitment to ensuring that its citizens live within the bounds of the law. The case of the Nova Scotia Teen and the Naked Photo Ring illustrates a situation in which kids infringe on the rights of other kids. Even though there is a perception that the case is unlikely to deter the Canadian Youth from engaging in delinquent behaviors, the repercussions are great especially due to the technological advancement where a nude is capable of being shared across the globe with a click of a button.

Protecting the right to privacy

Every person is empowered to have their privacy respected, the case under consideration presents a scenario where six minors violated the right to privacy of some girls by posting their nude photos online. The juveniles have been indicted for the offense, and a charge opened against them. The Canadian legal system requires the minors to be indicted in a Youth Justice Court and not the ordinary courts. The phenomena of having a separate judicial system for the youth dates back to 1908 when the Juvenile Delinquents Act was enacted. According to Doob and Cesaroni (2004), the juvenile justice system is meant to solve the problems of youth crime. The Youth Criminal Justice Act provides that the right to privacy of the child is protected and the identity of both the complainant and accused should not be protected.

Principles guiding the sentencing of young offenders

The other issue highlighted in the case is principles that guide the sentencing of young offenders. In reference to the case, Prof Wayne Mackay said that it is not clear whether the law will be deterrent to the teenage sexuality. McKay further argued that that putting the minor behind bars for the offense of distributing the nude photos online has no deterrence effect, the other minors may be tempted to continue with the act (Toronto Sun, July 30, 2017). His proposal is that that to prevent the delinquents from the criminal offenses of sharing naked photos of other children without their consent, the court should limit their social media. Prohibiting the minors from accessing the internet might solve the problem, it is however noted that the law has lagged behind the technological advancement and that it might be the reason why the minors are capitalizing on the weakness.

Factors to consider before sentencing young offenders

When sentencing the young offenders, the court is guided by the principles of rehabilitation, proportionality, and denunciation. The Court has not rendered its judgment on the case, and the six children have not been sentenced. Therefore, there are several factors to be considered by the court before rendering its sentence (Roberts and Bala, 2003). According to Prof McKay, there is a gray line between flirtation and coercion in intimate images cases. This means that the court is left with a task of determining whether a person was coerced to send the photos or they sent them willingly. Generally, the law provides that the minor has no capacity to consent to some issues including sex, therefore in extension, they lack the capacity to consent to have their nude photos shared on social media. In the instance case, a girl informed the court that she felt pressured to send the photo while the other one demonstrated to the court how she felt there was no big deal sending the photos since she was just joking around. There is need to rehabilitate the juveniles to ensure that they do not continue with the criminal act (Smallbone, Rayment-Mchugh and Smith, 2013). The rehabilitation should consider the proportion of their action against the harm it causes to the other members of the society.

Criminality of the minor

The criminality of the minor is put into test in the instance case. The six members who formed a group and created a drop box for collecting nude photos are blamed for engaging in criminal activities. The agreed record of facts said that the minors knew or were willful that it is illegal to post or uploads a nude photo of another person without consent. The case was perceived as typical teen romance until it became a high profile case. The boy had all reasons to believe that whatever they were doing was illegal as it was demonstrated to the court where one boy admitted distributing the photos without consent. The court has the discretion to sentence the accused person, even though the boys have not been convicted; the issue of engaging in criminal activities is evident (Allard, Rayment-McHugh, Adams, Smallbone and McKillop, 2016). According to Doob & Cesaroni (2004), the youth crime exists in the Canadian community. The author points out that the youth justice system has been put in place to address the crimes.

The model of Youth Justice in Canada

The case presents the issue of the model of Youth Justice in Canada. The laws in place to deals with the youth offenders have been revoked in the instance case. The Juvenile Delinquents Acts was enacted to ensure that the children are not tried the same way with the adults. Special courts for the youth has been created with the Justices left with the discretion to sentence the offenders after hearing the proceeding. The Act was enacted to protect both the victims and criminal delinquent youths. Canada has adopted a restorative justice targeting the youth offenders, and it encompasses a variety of approaches utilized in handling young offenders. The court uses the approach to address the harms that arise out of the criminal activities of the minor to the offender, the victim, and society as a whole. A Crown Attorney said that he hoped that the case would raise awareness about the criminal consequence is of posting or collecting nude photos of other teenagers without their consent. The justice system is meant to make sure that rights and freedoms of others are not infringed.


The Nova Scotia Teen case presents the dynamics that have emerged following the invent of technology. The Law is seen as lagging behind technological advancement and therefore need to have it move in tandem with technology. The prosecution of the six juveniles is perceived to be a deterrent to other minors, but there are other people with a different view. It has been observed by Prof McKay that imprisoning the six kids for the offense is unlikely to act as a deterrence. Juvenile justice is not concerned only with deterrence, and it also seeks to rehabilitate the offender. The court has the discretion to sentence the offender, the accused in the instance case are awaiting the decision of the court which will be delivered later.


Allard, T., Rayment-McHugh, S., Adams, D., Smallbone, S., & McKillop, N. (2016). Responding to youth sexual offending: a field-based practice model that “closes the gap” on sexual recidivism among Indigenous and non-Indigenous males. Journal of Sexual Aggression, 22(1), 82-94.

Doob, A. N., & Cesaroni, C. (2004). Responding to youth crime in Canada. University of Toronto Press.

Nova Scotia teen naked photo ring case unlikely to deter Canadian youth: Experts. (2017). Toronto Sun. Retrieved 8 August 2017, from http://www.torontosun.com/2017/07/30/nova-scotia-teen-naked-photo-ring-case-unlikely-to-deter-canadian-youth-experts

Roberts, J. V., & Bala, N. (2003). Understanding sentencing under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. Alta. L. Rev., 41, 395.

Smallbone, S., Rayment-Mchugh, S., & Smith, D. (2013). Youth sexual offending: Context, good-enough lives, and engaging with a wider prevention agenda. International journal of behavioral consultation and therapy, 8(3-4), 49.

July 15, 2023

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