Anastasia Qvist is an outstanding lawyer. My criminal law situation (family violence order) was difficult, complex and Ana's diligence saved me as I was going through the most difficult period of my life. Ana is down to earth, commonsense and she even kept our costs to a minimum. She is a skilled litigator and knows the ins and outs of the ACT Magistrates Court. She dealt skillfully with the DPP and is an excellent negotiator. You will get a fair representation and she genuinely cares about her clients. She has my complete recommendation. The lady goes to bat for her clients.
I would strongly recommend Anastasia to anyone who is seeking legal representation. As a first-time offender who was charged with a Level 2 Drink Driving offence, she walked me through every step of the matter and was very upfront and clear on all aspects of my case. She was always accessible when I needed advice. Her approach and advice were excellent. Under her representation, I received the best possible outcome and managed to avoid a criminal conviction. She was a pleasure to deal with throughout the whole matter.
Anastasia Qvist was very professional and helpful in every step of my matter. I got a very good outcome and I can’t thank you enough for your hard work and the Armstrong Legal team in Canberra. I would highly recommend her!!!
Throughout Angela has been the consummate professional. She maintained a calm, yet strong demeanour remained informative and completely open in her communication and took complete ownership of the situation. We felt confident we finally had an advocate to steer us out of the nightmare we were in, and she did so with great respect and sincerity. I cannot speak more highly of Angela. She has literally rescued our family from what looked very much like a hopeless future.
Words can’t describe how grateful I am to Trudie Cameron being my solicitor and to Andrew Tiedt presenting my case in the court. They both have been very supportive and amazingly professional and effective. I’ve got an absolutely fantastic outcome I couldn’t even dream about.
Soon after meeting Andrew I knew he was the solicitor I wanted to handle my matter. He immediately sprang into action which brought me stability and hope during a tumultuous time in my life. Andrew was never afraid to give me straight answers to my tough questions which is a true mark of integrity. He is clearly at ease in the court environment and I believe his calm and measured demeanour went a long way to helping me secure the best result from my day in court. I would certainly recommend you approach Andrew if you need assistance.
"Andrew Tiedt was very professional and considerate to personal circumstances and gave sound advice that resulted in the best outcome possible. Highly recommended."
The Age of Criminal Liability
The age of criminal liability is the minimum age at which a person can be dealt with by the criminal justice system. This includes being arrested or summonsed, charged with offences and found guilty or acquitted of a criminal offence. The age of criminal liability in all Australian states and territories is 10. The Australian age of criminal liability is considerably lower than the international average (which is 14). Many youth justice professionals, lawyers and activists in Australia believe the age of criminal liability should be raised but at this stage there is no proposal to make any changes to the current law.
Children under 10
Children under 10 cannot be arrested, summonsed, charged or found guilty of any criminal offence in any Australian jurisdiction. This is set out in different legislation in each state and territory.
This is because children younger than 10 are considered too young to be held responsible by the courts for their actions.
If a child under the age of criminal liability does something that would amount to a criminal offence if an older person committed it, such as assault or shop lifting, this generally dealt with informally, by parents, teachers or other involved adults.
The consequences of this may include:
- The child being punished at home or at school;
- A notification being made to the relevant government department in the child’s state or territory that the child is being inadequately supervised or cared for;
- The child being sent to undergo counselling.
Children between 10 and 14
When a child between 10 and 14 is charged with an offence in Australia, the prosecution must show that the child understood that the act they committed was a crime and that the behaviour was wrong. If prosecution cannot establish that the child knew this, the young person will be found not guilty on the basis of immature age. This is known as the doli incapax rule. The doli incapax rule is a rebuttable presumption that a child younger than 14 is not criminally responsible for offences.
Children over 14
When a young person aged over 14 but under 18 is charged with a summary criminal offence, the matter is dealt with in the Children’s Court, which is the juvenile version of the Magistrates Court. If the offence is an indictable offence, the matter will be committed to a higher court to be finalised there.
The Children’s Court follows the same procedures and rules of evidence as the Magistrates Court. However, there are some additional rules that apply to offenders who are children, such as the requirement that they attend court accompanied by a responsible adult, such as a parent or guardian.
A young person who is found guilty or pleads guilty in the children’s court is sentenced under different legislation than an adult who is sentenced by the Magistrates Court. The Children’s Court can impose most of the same penalties as the adult courts, including fines, good behaviour bonds, supervised orders and terms of detention. However, when dealing with children, the primary goal of sentencing is to rehabilitate the young person.
Children’s Courts also have the option of recommending a matter for diversion in certain circumstances. When this occurs, the matter is taken out of the court system and finalised through the young person’s satisfactory completion of programs. For a matter to be dealt with by way of diversion the consent of the prosecution and of the young person must be given.
Arguments for raising the age of criminal liability
In recent years, the criminalisation and detention of young people in Australia has caused public outrage. The criminalisation of children at a young age is believed by many to lead to further offending by the young person later in life and to an increased likelihood of their coming into contact with the criminal justice system and the prison system as an adult.
The young people who are charged with criminal offences and those who are sentenced to youth detention are disproportionately from low socio-economic groups, with Indigenous children being massively over-represented. Advocates of raising the age of criminal liability argue that having a low age of criminal liability further marginalises underprivileged children and entrenches disadvantage. Research shows that children who are dealt with by the justice system at a young age are less likely to complete their education and find employment.
Medical research shows that children below the age of 12 have a limited capacity for reflection as their brains are still developing. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child advocates an age of criminal liability of 14 or higher in al countries.
Arguments for keeping the age of criminal liability at 10
Supporters of the current age of criminal liability maintain that young people commit serious criminal offences and must be adequately punished and that the community needs to be protected from young offenders. Opponents of lowering the age of criminal liability have also suggested that this could lead to young offenders using even younger children to carry out offences.
Supporters of the current age of criminal liability also believe that the doli incapax rule amounts to a safeguard for young people who are not mature enough to be held accountable for their misdeeds and that it is therefore unnecessary to raise the age.
If you require legal advice or representation in a criminal matter or in any other legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.
WHERE TO NEXT?
If you suspect that you may be under investigation, or if you have been charged with an offence, it is vital to get competent legal advice as early as possible. Our lawyers are highly specialised in criminal law and will be able to guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.
WHY CHOOSE ARMSTRONG LEGAL?
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