The Youth Justice Act 1992 (Qld) (‘Youth Justice Act’) governs ‘youth justice’ within Queensland and confirms that children are to be dealt with separately to the adult criminal justice system. The Youth Justice Act also regulates how children and young offenders are to be dealt with by police and sentencing options available to the Court.
Importantly, the Youth Justice Act provides a Charter of the youth justice principles in Queensland. In short, some of the goals of youth justice, in addition to maintaining the safety of the public, are:
In Queensland, the legal system allows for children aged between 10 and 17 years to be charged with a criminal offence.
Children that are aged between 10 and 14 years are presumed not to be criminally responsible unless it can be proved that at the time the offence was committed, the child had the capacity to know between right and wrong.
A child under the age of 10, however, cannot be held criminally responsible for an offence.
If your child or a child you care for has been contacted or charged by police, you should contact a criminal lawyer experienced with Youth Justice matters.
In the early stages of a juvenile criminal matter involving a young offender, it is important to be aware of the following:
It is in your child’s best interest to be legally represented. The role of lawyers in the early stages of an investigation is vital for the protection of a child.
The Youth Justice Act makes clear that a parent or guardian needs to understand that the child is the client. As lawyers, we are bound by confidentiality, and your child will need to advise us whether they want to have their parent or guardian present in any dealings with their lawyers.
Generally, there are many stages of criminal matters where the assistance of a parent or guardian can be very helpful. The Court often seeks to ascertain the views and wishes of a parent or guardian, and you are generally required to attend Court with your child.
The lawyers at Gilshenan & Luton have expertise in this specialised and complex area of the law and can provide representation for your child or a child you care for at any stage of a criminal matter.
The legal system can be an intimidating and confronting process, especially for a child. It is vital that you obtain advice and assistance from knowledgeable lawyers with expertise in this area at the earliest opportunity.