Canada drafts new regulations to fight organized crime

20:14, August 05, 2010      

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The federal government of Canada on Wednesday announced tougher new laws to fight organized crime.

Minister of Justice and Attorney General Rob Nicholson said the new regulations would help ensure police and prosecutors could make full use of the tools in the Criminal Code specifically targeted at tackling organized crime.

"The fact that an offence is committed by a criminal organization makes it a serious crime," Nicholson said at a news briefing in Montreal.

The changes amend the Criminal Code's definition of serious offences to include 11 specific offences, including illegal gambling, as well as prostitution and drug-related crimes.

Nicholson said the measures gave police "every tool necessary" in their organized crime investigations and deprived criminal gangs of wealth.

The move also lengthened jail terms for acts linked to organized crime.

Currently, some of the criminal acts perpetrated by organized crime groups do not meet the definition of "serious offence" under subsection 467.1(1) of the Criminal Code because they are not indictable offences punishable by sentences of five years or more.

This means that, in certain cases, police and prosecutors cannot use the specific and powerful Criminal Code offences that prohibit organized crime activity or the many special procedures available in organized crime investigations and prosecutions in areas such as peace bonds, bail, wiretaps, proceeds of crime and parole eligibility.

The new regulations will help address this problem by identifying as serious offences such organized crime signature activities as illegal gambling and specific prostitution and drug-related crimes.

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