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Legal Studies-Young Offenders
Transcript of Legal Studies-Young Offenders
Young Offenders and the Law
Age of Criminal Responsibility and 'doli incapax'
The rights of Children and Young People when questioned or arrested.
Main Legislation/Recent Cases
and the role
of the Children's Court
Jack Yow and Ali Wehby
"It is widely acknowledged in Australia and around the world that children and young people should be subject to a system of criminal justice that is separate from the adult system and that recognises their inexperience and immaturity. As such, children are typically dealt with separately from adults and treated less harshly than their adult counterparts."
Source: Juveniles’ contact with the criminal justice system in Australia, K Richards, Monitoring Report No. 7, Australian Institute of Criminology, 2009, p 22;
The area of Law and policy concerned with young people
and the criminal justice system
is often referred to as
So why do young people become involved in crime
NSW Juvenile Justice
suggests these possible
factors as to why
poor parental supervision
drug and alcohol abuse
neglect and abuse
negative peer associations
poor personal and social skills
difficulties in school and employment
The law takes these 2 approaches in relation
to Young Offenders and Juvenile Justice
Focus on Rehabilitation
'tough on crime'
Cannot be charged with a criminal offence. Children under 10 are covered by the defence 'doli incapax'.
Rebuttable presumption of 'doli incapax'. Presumed not capable of committing an offence. This assumption of 'doli incapax' may be challenged by the prosecution.
Criminally responsible for any offence committed, but no conviction can be recorded unless it is a serious offence.
Criminally responsible for any offence committed and a conviction may be recorded. (case will still be heard in Children's Court)
Full adult criminal responsibility, with the case to be heard in adult courts. However, if the offence was committed before the accused 18th birthday, it can still be heard in the Children's Court until the accused turns 21.
The age of criminal responsibility in Australia is 10 under federal law
It is in legal terms, referred to as a
defence of infancy
All states of Australia have adopted a uniform age of responsibility.
'incapable of wrong'
Controversy has arisen over the use of this defence.
Or hypothetically speaking, would you accept the use of 'doli incapax' as a defence for Bart Simpson in the episode 'the wandering juvie' or in general any child under the age of 13 when there is obvious intent.
Penalties and Alternatives to court for Children/Young Offenders and
Current Statistics on Young Offenders.
As the youth of society your opinion in relation to young offenders is very important, as this area of the criminal justice system still applies to all of you as 16 and 17 year olds.
So to conclude our presentation, we would like to leave you with a question to think about. (You will make your judgement individually and share them at the end)
Q-Considering the information we have provided you with, Do you believe the criminal justice system
has been effective or ineffective in relation to young offenders?
Thank you for
listening & on
of Jack and Ali
have a great day.
As we commence our presentation,
we would like all of you to think about
this famous quote.
Young Offenders Act 1997
It applies to young people over the age of 10 and under the age of 18 years.
The two types of offences that are covered by the Act are summary offences and indictable offences committed or alleged to have been committed by children.
It provides for three different levels of interventions into juvenile offending:
3-Youth Justice Conferences
And finally Court
Children (Criminal Proce-
edings) Act 1987 (NSW)
A 14-year-old boy charged with the attempted murder of a schoolboy has been refused bail in the Brisbane Children's Court.
15yo, 11yo boys charged over Port Stephens bushfires
Both had bail hearings at the Children's Court and were refused. Both cases come under the YOA 97 and the Children (Cri-
minal proceedings) Act 1987 (NSW)
Special rights and procedures with police, 5 examples:
Right to have a responsible adult present when police ask questions
If arrested, police must find out details of the person's parent or guardian ASAP and contact them
Police must give caution of rights in presence of the support person
Same period of detention as for adults, but a shorter period is strongly recommended
Children's Court order needed to obtain fingerprints, photos and a DNA sample
The jurisdiction of the Children's Court and it's proceedings
Principles relating to the exercise of criminal jurisdiction
The relevance of youth at sentence
The Recording of a conviction
And Penalties, etc
Procedures and Operation
The court only hears proceedings for offenders under 18 years or for those who are still under 21 years and were less than 18 years old when charged.
Presided over by a Magistrate; there is no jury
Rehabilitation is the primary purpose of sentencing
The names of children and young people appearing in the Children’s Court are not published; it is an offence for media outlets to do so.
"Youth is wasted on the young"
Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw.
(We will visit this quote again at the end of the
presentation, so keep it in the
back of your head for later)
*We're now happy to hear your feedback on the Quote and Question.
Penalties and Alternatives to Court (under the YOA 97)
youth justice conference
community service order
suspended control order
And also under the Children's (Criminal
Proceedings) Act 1987 NSW
The number of offenders aged 10 to 19 years proceeded against by police increased by 4% (4,254) between 2008-09 and 2009-10 to 109,979 offenders.
Young offenders comprised nearly a third (29%) of the total offender population
The over representation of the young as offenders is reflected in the young offender rate of 3,785 offenders per 100,000 persons aged 10 to 19 years. (Table/Graphs are from abs.gov.au)