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Age of criminal responsibility?

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R1Geezer | 13:02 Mon 15th Mar 2010 | News
50 Answers

This was on the news over the weekend so I'm amazed no one has asked the question on here so here goes.

Is 10 fair enough or should it be rasied or lowered. The childrens commissionaer, Maggie Atkinson thinks it should be 12, and that the Bulger killers should not have been prosecuted.

I think it's fine as it is, what do you think ABers?

Should We Change The Age Of Criminal Responsibility?

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Should the Age of Criminal Responsibility be changed?

  • The age of Criminal Responsibility is fine as it is - 10 votes
  • 38%
  • The age of Criminal Responsibility should be raised - 9 votes
  • 35%
  • The age of Criminal Responsibility should be lowered - 7 votes
  • 27%

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Although no child under 10 can be tried, there used to be a legal presumption of 'doli incapax' whereby no child under 14 could be convicted unless the court was satisfied that he knew that what he had done was seriously wrong, and not merely naughty or mischievous. This was abolished in 1999.
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It's a very grey area. Some young children know exactly what they're doing, whereas others really don't know right from wrong, so how can we draw a definite line? Maybe we should remove the age restriction altogether, and with the help of specialist reports, judge each case individually.
@naomi24 - probably the most sensible suggestion I've seen regarding this issue. I can't compute how setting a definitive age, whether it stays as it is or goes up/down, has any meaning.
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Sorry Zeuhl "just because a child (or a mentally impaired adult) knows 'the difference between right and wrong' it doesn't mean they have the ability to make the requisite judgements that we would expect of a developed adult."

Are you saying therefore that the killing of Jamie Bulger was just an unfortunate misjudgement by two minors and that they should never have been admonished in any way? What do you think should have been done?
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I don't think you can draw a line in the sand and say that these kids on this side know what they're doing, but these kids on the other side cannot comprehend the consequences of their actions.

Every criminal incident should be dealt with individually on a case by case basis. In that way, each child's comprehension of right and wrong could be tested to establish culpability.
Is tricky because wether the Crim responsibility age is 9,10,11,12....It's prob about a 90% chance that a custodial sentence will not be given until 14/15/16, at this stage, the offender's convictions are in double figures

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