Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Court Last Resort for Juveniles; Kids Need to Have Capacity to Understand

Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Court Last Resort for Juveniles; Kids Need to Have Capacity to Understand

Article excerpt

Byline: Emma Clarke emma.clarke@qt.com.au

Juvenile offenders

Children under 10 cannot be charged with any offence.

Those between 10 and 14 need to have requisite capacity to understand their actions.

Offenders between 10 and 17 can be charged with any criminal offence.

Anybody over 17 is considered an adult under the Criminal Code.

THE community sees them roam in packs on the street but juvenile offenders under 10 cannot be charged for offences under the Criminal Code.

Police have to prove children aged between 10 and 14 who commit a crime have a requisite capacity to understand what they did was wrong but those under 10 are deemed to not have the ability to commit an offence.

Redbank residents have previously reported witnessing a group of up to 30 children roaming the streets unsupervised. They say some are under 10 years old.

Their peers might find themselves before the Children's Court if they commit an offence, but police can only deal with younger children through behavioural counselling.

The Criminal Code establishes children under 10 "are not criminally responsible for any act or omission".

Child Protection Investigation Unit Detective Acting Senior Sergeant David Hunter said child offenders between 10 and 17 were dealt with under the Youth Justices Act and through the Children's Court and those 17 and over were considered adults.

He said police had to prove alternatives to criminal charges had been exhausted before a child offender could be called before the courts.

"There are different processes police are required to use for kids that are not available to adults," Snr Sgt Hunter said.

"Before making a decision to charge a child, police officers have got to consider whether there are any alternatives to charging the child that are justified. …

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