Age of criminal responsibility in Australia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The age of criminal responsibility in Australia is the age below which a child is deemed incapable of having committed a criminal offence. In legal terms, it is referred to as a defense of infancy.

All States of Australia have adopted a cat age of criminal responsibility.

Doli incapax refers to a presumption that a child is "incapable of crime" under legislation or common law. Or rather, the presumption that a child cannot form mens rea as they do not yet have a sufficient understanding between "right and wrong". In the context of Australian law, doli incapax acts as a rebuttable presumption for children aged at least 10 but less than 14.[1]

To rebut this presumption, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the child knew that the act was seriously wrong (not by standards of law, but morally or according to the ordinary principles of reasonable persons) “as distinct from an act of mere naughtiness or childish mischief”.[2]

Ages of criminal responsibility by jurisdiction[edit]

Jurisdiction Cannot be charged with a criminal offence Doli incapax

acts as a rebuttable presumption [3]

Age in adult court Reference
Commonwealth Under 10 10 to under 14 18 Crimes Act 1914, s4M Criminal Code Act 1995, s7.1;

Crimes Act 1914, s4N Criminal Code Act 1995, s7.2

Australian Capital Territory Under 10 10 to under 14 18 Criminal Code 2002, s25 Criminal Code 2002, s26;

Children and Young People Act 1999, Part 1.3 ss7 and 8, and s69

New South Wales Under 10 10 to under 14 18 Children (Criminal Proceedings) Act 1987, s5; Common law: doli incapax;

Children (Criminal Proceedings) Act 1987, s3

Northern Territory Under 10 10 to under 14 18 Criminal Code Act, s38(1), s38(2); Juvenile Justice Act, s3
Queensland Under 10 10 to under 14 17 Criminal Code Act 1899, s29(1); Criminal Code Act 1899, s29(2); Juvenile Justice Act 1992, Schedule 4
South Australia Under 10 10 to under 14 18 Young Offenders Act 1993, s5; Common law doli incapax; Young Offenders Act 1993, s4;
Tasmania Under 10 10 to under 14 18 Criminal Code Act 1924, s18(1);

Criminal Code Act 1924, s18(2); Youth Justice Act 1997, s3

Victoria Under 10 10 to under 14 18 Children Youth and Families Act 2005, s344
Western Australia Under 10 10 to under 14 18 Criminal Code Act Compilation Act 1913, s29;

Criminal Code Act Compilation Act 1913, s29; Young Offenders Act 1994, s3

References[edit]

  1. ^ Australian Institute of Criminology, The age of criminal responsibility, September 2005 (Canberra). Accessed online at http://www.aic.gov.au/publications/current%20series/cfi/101-120/cfi106.html
  2. ^ R v CRH (Unreported, NSW Court of Criminal Appeal, Smart, Hidden and Newman JJ, 18 December 1996); C (A Minor) v DPP [1995] 2 WLR 383, 401-2; BP v R, SW v R [2006] NSWCCA 172 (1 June 2006).
  3. ^ http://www.aic.gov.au/documents/0/0/A/%7B00A92691-0908-47BF-9311-01AD743F01E1%7Dti181.pdf

Notes[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]