Consider the two situations… 24 year old male13 year old male
The Five categories Homicide Manslaughter Murder Manufacture or sale of firearms Assault Sexual Assault
Doli Incapex (childs presumption of innocence) States that: no child between the ages of ten and fourteen are held criminally responsible for their action unless the prosecution can prove that the accused acted with: Intent and Understood the consequences of their actions
R V LMW Victim: Corey Davis; six years old. Facts: accused thrown into a river, unable to swim and drowned. Issue: Did the accused aged ten with a learning disability, understand the possible consequences of his actions? Decision: The state could not prove this was understood and therefore, no conviction. Effective? – provides justice for the individual (accused) as they had a learning disability and were protected by doli incapex Efficient? – highlights the imbalance of the act; a life was lost which no one was held responsible for
Amendment Prohibits the naming of children involved in serious criminal offences If the victim is killed, their names will be released Example : R V LMW name of accused hidden.
R V SLD Australia’s youngest criminal – thirteen and ten months old. Facts: the accused broke into a home, abducted a four year old (Courtney Clarke) stabbing her on the families drive way. The body was then thrown into some nearby grass, the evidence buried in a neighboring home, the blood washed from the driveway. Accused faced a 25 year sentence. Issue : Is thirteen and nine months to young for conviction of murder? Decision: Sentenced to twenty five years imprisonment with a non parole period of ten years.
Daniel Owens Facts: Upon arriving home, Daniel Owens was approached by two sixteen year olds who attempted to rob him asking for his wallet. Daniel caught unaware, was in shock and went to comply with the demand, however the two sixteen years olds acted quickly. Daniel Owens was brutally bashed to death by the two teenagers. Decision: One of the sixteen year olds was sentenced to fourteen years and three months imprisonment, the other is waiting to be trialed. Effective? Yes, the law was broken a sanction was enforced. Efficient? Children’s Criminal Proceedings Act enabled society to achieve a just outcome as the accused found guilty was removed from society as he was considered a risk to the cohesion. The punishment was enforced regardless of the age of the accused, which follows the procedures of the Act.
Effectiveness and Efficiency Justice Children who commit serious offences and found guilty are imprisoned just as adults would be. Victims and their families are given justice through the conviction of a juvenile offender. Fairness Regardless of age, sanctions apply All children are given the greatest chance of representation and the court system applies ‘special policies’ (such as the explanation of everything within a courtroom) when dealing with children who commit serious offences Children with special circumstances (in the case of R VLMW) are taken into consideration Equity All people are equal before the law Children are dealt with equally, age bias is not a factor in considering the outcome of the law.
Effectiveness and Efficiency Efficiency Deals only with children aged between ten and eighteen Deals only with children who commit serious criminal offences Delegates less serious criminal offences to other authoritative bodies such as the Police who delegate warnings and cautions The act has a lower recidivism rate than alternative remedies such as cautions
Children may be young, but they are not always innocent…