Young Offenders

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Young Offenders

Australia’s justice system, applies different rules and regulations on which how young offenders are to be treated. Young offenders are those above the ages of 10, however are under the age of 17. Under the Children Proceeding ACT NSW 1987, states that children under the age of 10 are not liable to be charge for criminal intent ( mens rea ) as they are too young, to grasp the situations consequences and are recognised as doli incapax. However, there is a theory that ages from 10 to 14 are unable to develop mens rea this theory is known throughout all criminal jurisdictions within Australia but may become irrelevant if they are able to prove that they were aware of their actions, however proving this is a difficult task. There are circumstances that nullify the Children Proceeding Act NSW 1987, and this will lead to the young offender or offenders to be sentenced and trialled as an adult which will be contradicting the presumption of the theory and the Act. The reason of this is determined by crime that the individual has committed, if the crime was to be perceived as a well strategized and thought out offence than the individual will be treated as an adult since the court will be taking that into account. The usual reason in which why they are not trialled as adults usually is that, young offenders are seen to be still immature and haven’t fully grasped the concept of their own criminal responsibility; this is due to the brain being under developed as it hasn’t reached it final stage of development yet. There are cases which prove this wrong such as “Teenager admits machete murder” the culprit is cannot be named as he was still a minor during the time of the incident. Even in the past the legal system is still protecting him due to his age in the past, and as a result the court takes into account that he was a minor when he committed this serious offence. Even when giving evidence children are treated differently as law states that before providing evidence to the court one must take an oath beforehand under the Evidence Act 1995. Though there is no age limit to give evidence but there needs to be an understanding of who can give evidence due to age, this can be seen in the case R v. JTB 2002. As a result of this the Young Offenders Act 1997 NSW aims to treat young people differently compared to adults, and giving them special benefits in order to rehabilitate them to the correct part, even though said this isn’t making much ground in helping and stopping their juvenile actions, which leads to a crime. The legal system is basically making the young offenders unaccountable for their own actions, as the true purpose was to limit time dealing with them and lower numbers in the detention centres. There are other alternatives when it comes to court for young offenders when dealing with problems such as drugs which is a major concern. One beneficial program that the court has initiated is the Youth Drug and Alcohol Court Program, its purpose is to rehabilitate the young person, providing guidance and support through the drug addiction or alcohol abuse. Being allowed to take part in this program can only be accepted through the Children’s Court magistrate or either the Juvenile Justice Counsellor. However, there role isn’t benefitting some people, such as these two that can be seen in this article “State care teens involved in crime”. As the only way to be placed into this program is through a trial or to be currently placed in a detention centre, limiting its affects on the society and those who are currently under the radar. Warnings and cautions are also issued to young people if the police suspects that they are breaking the law, whilst cautions are formal records of the child breaking the law and is kept a note of. Cautions are usually applied to much more serious cases such as damaging to property or theft, but can only be applied if the young offender admits guilty to the offence. Being said they do...
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