HSC Assessment Task 1- Crime
* Age of Crime responsibility
* Tests for rebutting doli incapax
* Rebutting the presumption doli incapax (evidence)
* It’s a Latin term meaning 'incapable of wrong'; the presumption that children under a certain age cannot be held legally responsible for their actions and cannot be guilty of an offence.
Age of Criminal Responsibility:
* In NSW today, the Children (Criminal Proceedings) Act 1987 (NSW) lays out the minimum wage of criminal responsibility. Under section 5 of Children (Criminal Proceedings) Act 1987 (NSW) states that for children under 10 years old, doli incapax is a conclusive presumption (legal presumption in favour of one party that is final (conclusive) and cannot be rebutted by the other party) * No children under the age of 10 can be found by law to commit an offence. * This statutory presumption is irrebuttable.
* This is because they don’t have the sufficient knowledge of what is right and wrong. * They are considered more likely to be rehabilitated from offending behavior, and the imposition of any criminal penalty at such a young age may prevent this from occurring. For these reasons, children under the age of 10 are deemed by law never to be criminally liable.
10-13 years old
* The rebuttable presumption of doli Incapax applies to children 10 to 13 years of age. * Once a child turns 10 years old, they are still presumed incapable of committing a criminal offence, but this presumption is allowed to be rebutted. That is, the prosecution may be able to show that the child, at the time of the alleged offence, actually knew that their act was seriously wrong, and not just “naughty.” * The rebuttable presumption recognizes that children of this age might have the mental capacity to understand the seriousness of their act, but only if the prosecution can prove beyond doubt. * Evidence that the prosecution might rely on could include psychiatric evidence, evidence of parents and teachers, or behavior and statements by the child.
The age of criminal responsibility in NSW
Age (inclusive)| Criminal responsibility|
0-9 years old| Cannot be charged with a criminal offence. Children under 10 are not seen as mature enough to commit criminal offences.| 10-13 years old| Rebuttable presumption of Doli Incapax. Presumed not capable of committing an offence, but prosecution may show the child knew what they did was “seriously wrong” and not just “naughty”.| 14-15 years old| Criminally responsible for any offence committed, but no conviction can be recorded unless it is a serious offence.| 16-17 years old| Criminally responsible for any offence committed and a conviction may be recorded, but the case is heard in the Children’s Court.| 18 years old or older| Full adult criminal responsibility, with case to be heard in adult courts. If the offence was committed before the accused 18th birthday, it can still be heard in the Children’s Court until the accused turns 21.|
Young People (14 to 17 years old)
* Once a person turns 14 years old, the presumption of Doli Incapax no longer applies and the offender can be found criminally responsible for their actions. * They are deemed to be mature enough to know when their actions are wrong and know not to commit an offence. * However, the law still continues to protect young people in a number of ways: full criminal responsibility, publicly triable in adult courts, does not occur until a person reaches 18 years of age. * People under the age of 18 are subject to the Children’s (Criminal Proceedings) Act 1987 (NSW). This includes a number of protections, such as: * Prohibiting reporting child’s name
* A requirement that any convictions will be cleared after three years (if no more have been committed). * The matters will be heard in the Children’s Court.