Thursday, 10 June 2010

Time to raise the age of criminal responsibility

The chairman of the Criminal Bar Association, Paul Mendelle QC, is quoted in the Daily Telegraph as saying that the age of criminal responsibility should be raised from 10 to 14.

His call should be taken very seriously. The recent case of two very young boys convicted of attempted statutory rape is a most worrying sign that our criminal justice system currently appears to give no regard to issues of maturity. We must stop treating 10-13 years olds as if they were adults and accept that the heavy hammer of the criminal law is not an effective or humane approach in helping our children to become well-behaved citizens.