In most jurisdictions, children are not criminally liable for their individual actions until they have reached a specific age. This age differs in different court jurisdictions.
In the Western part of Australia, under Section 9 of the Criminal Code Act Compilation Act, 1913, the age for which a child is criminally liable is 10 years. This implies if the child commits a criminal offense, the police will charge the child and produce him/her in a competent court of justice.
In case the child is below the age of 10 and commits a criminal offense that an older individual would do, he/she will not be legally accountable for the crime.
Criminal offenses committed by children between the ages of 10 and 14
Under Section 9 of the Criminal Code, courts of law state that a child between the age of 10 to 14 will not be held responsible for a criminal act committed unless the prosecution of the proceedings prove that the child was aware of his/her actions at the time of committing the act.
There are tests conducted for the child to check whether he/she had the capacity to know the consequences of the act. Here, the prosecution has to determine whether the child was aware that the act that was being done was wrong or not. At the same time, adequate evidence has to be given to the judge so that the proper verdict can be passed.
In short, when there is a criminal trial conducted, and a child is responsible for the act, the court needs to take into consideration the mental capacity, the age of the child and his/her development along with the gravity of the act that has been committed.
Lawyers Perth firms state that if the child is found guilty of the criminal act, he/she will be subjected to the standard criminal procedure that is conducted for an adult offender. However, there will be subtle differences in the penalties and the processes of the competent court of law.
If the child is charged with a criminal offense and he/she is below 18 years, the trial proceedings will be tried in a Children’s Court as per the Young Offenders Act of 1994. In case the child is found guilty of the criminal act, the Magistrate may apply penalties like orders for community work, fines, bonds for good behavior and more. The judge can also impose a custodial sentence on the child where he/she is kept for a specified period of time in a center for juvenile detention.
When it comes to criminal offenses committed by children, it is prudent to consult experienced and skilled lawyers in the field. With their guidance and advice, you are able to understand the criminal laws that apply to a child.
A good lawyer will take up the case and guide you through the court formalities, paperwork and trial proceedings. With a skilled legal professional, you are able to understand the laws of the land and take the case in the right direction with success.