One of the laws that govern prosecution of children in conflict with the law or allegedly committed criminal offences under Crimes Act 1958, is the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005. It covers the procedures in dealing with children being charged with an offence.
Under the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005; it is conclusively presumed that children under ten years old cannot commit and offence. As such, they are not criminally responsible for an offence as stated in the Crimes Act 1958. Those who were ten years or more but less than 14 years would be criminally responsible if the prosecution proved that they acted with discernment when they committed the crime charged. Discernment is a question of fact that should be proven by evidence since conviction in criminal cases requires proof beyond reasonable doubt.
In Australia, one is considered a young person if he or she is under 18 of age except in Victoria and Queensland where the age limit is under 17 years of age to be called the young person. Beyond this age limit, he or she is already an adult in these two states.
The first contact of most young people who committed acts in violation of the criminal laws of Australia is the police authorities who will provide a non-court action that aims to redirect them from further involvement in any illegal activities which may include group conference. In this group conference, the young offenders are taught to be responsible for this action by meeting their victims.
The court where the case of the young offender was filed has the power either to dismiss it or will provide for an alternative to jail like committing him or her to youth justice centre or group conference. It may also impose any of the following, to wit: good behaviour bonds, community service, outcome plan, suspended sentences, home detention or fines.
Sentencing and punishment for crimes are often harsh and can be brought to adults as well as juveniles. Being involved in the criminal or police process can be quite demanding, rigorous, and time-consuming. It is often stressful on both the individual suspected of the crime and that individual's friends and family. Hiring the right criminal defence law firm can often make a substantial difference in your case.
Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.