This is one of those lovely little bits:
Responsible Child (BBC Two) is a drama built around one extraordinary fact – that, in England and Wales, children as young as 10 can be tried for murder as if they were adults. Think for a moment of any 10-year-olds you know and imagine them in crown court being assumed to have the capacity of a grown man or woman. In fact, 7,057 of their pre-pubescent peers have been through exactly that since 1995.
The thing is the law was changed in 1997. Yes, after the election, this is Blair, same act that brought in ASBOs.
Before it was an absolute rule that a child under 7 couldn’t commit a crime. One between 7 and 14 was assumed to be incapable but this assumption could be rebutted. Then Blair:
5. Section 34 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 (“section 34”) provided:
“Abolition of rebuttable presumption that a child is doli incapax
The rebuttable presumption of criminal law that a child aged 10 or over is incapable of committing an offence is hereby abolished.”
So, who should we blame for this state of affairs then? Be sure that it’s not going to be nice liberal and lefty legal reformers, eh?
Just a little hint for the writer in The Guardian. There haven’t been 7 thousand and change such prosecutions for murder…..