Children and the Criminal Justice System.
Children Act, 2001 –
· Became law in July 2001. Children in conflict with the law should only be detained by the state as a last resort.
· There are many community based measures which must be explored and exhausted before detention can be considered.
· What is a Minor – Section 3 Children Act 2001 – “child” means a person under the age of 18 years; (Removes any distinguishing classes of children e.g Minor, Young Person, Child) Client Is A Minor
· Section 52 – Children Act 2001 (Amended by Criminal Justice Act 2006)
Age of criminal responsibility.
52.—(1) It shall be conclusively presumed that no child under the age of 12 years is capable of committing an offence.
(2) There is a rebuttable presumption that a child who is not less than 12 but under 14 years of age is incapable of committing an offence because the child did not have the capacity to know that the act or omission concerned was wrong. Law Abolished
· Section 53 – Children should be detained as the last resort 53.—(1) Subject to subsections (2) and (3), where a member of the Garda Síochána has reasonable grounds for believing that a child under the age of 12 years is responsible for an act or omission which, but for section 52 , would constitute an offence, the member shall endeavour to take the child, or arrange for the child to be taken by another member of the Garda Síochána, to the child's parent or
guardian. Police will not 'arrest' client unless completely necesarry. And if they do, stringent regulations ón welfare and child safety apply
· Section 142 Children Act 2001 – Children between the ages of 10-16, a court may impost a period of detention at Oberstown Children Detention Campus.
· S 143 – The court shall not make an order imposing... detention ón a child unless... satisfied (it) is only suitable way of dealing with the child. Only As Last Resort
· Section 258 Children Act 2001 – Offences commited under age of 18 are not automaticaly expunged from records. Conditions:
· Must have been commited before 18yo
· Not tried in Central Criminal Court (Murder, rape)
· 3 years since finding of guilt
· No other offence has been commited in this period
· 55.—In any investigation relating to the commission or possible commission of an offence by children, members of the Garda Síochána shall act with due respect for the personal rights of the children and their dignity as human persons, for their vulnerability owing to their age and level of maturity and for the special needs of any of them who may be under a physical or mental disability
· 96(2) - any penalty imposed on a child for an offence should cause as little interference as possible with the child's legitimate activities and pursuits, should take the form most likely to maintain and promote the development of the child and should take the least restrictive form that is appropriate in the circumstances; in particular, a period of detention should be imposed...