The kiddies in court

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.

Hmm. Well.

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…..

12 thoughts on “The kiddies in court”

  1. I imagine there is considerable overlap between those who want the age of criminal responsibility raised to 18, and the voting age reduced to 16.

  2. Although obviously if 10 year olds were given the vote there would be a screaming injustice that a 9 year old might be just too young to vote at one general election and then not be able to vote until they were nearly 14.

  3. “have been through exactly that since 1995”: 1995, eh? So another Guardian lie, but is it by suppressio veri or by suggestio falsi, or a bit of both?

  4. It was the 1993 murder of James Bulger what done it. The tabloids feasted on the crime for years afterwards, leading to a strong feeling that “something must be done”. Abolishing doli incapax satisfied the baying crowds, therefore it was done.

    How times change though. I can’t imagine Cameron or May daring to do anything so right-wing.

  5. Rob – Bingo.

    extraordinary fact – that, in England and Wales, children as young as 10 can be tried for murder as if they were adults.

    How is this extraordinary? Do we think 10 year olds don’t know that murder is wrong?

    Remember Jamie Bulger?

  6. “from the “ordinary” fear the boys live with under Scott’s rule, to Scott’s armed attack on Nathan, for which he is charged with attempted murder – only for charges to be dropped and Scott to return to the home more furious than ever.”

    “Debbie Honeywood, as the boys’ mother, gives a pitch-perfect portrayal of a woman numbed, her selfhood utterly corroded after years of suffering and abuse from Scott and – we suspect – Ray and Nathan’s alcoholic father. The brief scene between her and Ray after the verdict is truly harrowing.”

    So, the bloke goes on trial, but the mother doesn’t, at that moment, get the fuck out, disappear to the other end of the country? Just lets someone that she knows is violent come close to her kids and maybe kill them?

    This is my fault, I presume, not the mother for being a total failure. I guess I should throw some more money at Sure Start and fuck knows what else, even though the kids knifing each other are the kids of the Blair generation, born and raised before “austerity”.

  7. Maybe BBC will air a drama about a young black lesbian woman being repeatedly tried for same crime…

    Then Guardian will lie and blame evil tories for another Blair law as they do in this case and with GreenFail Tower

    btw GreenFail Tower – Bent-Toad lost her K&C seat

    @Steve December 17, 2019 at 12:49 pm

    +1

    I remember our Cub leader gave us older ones a lecture on Criminal Responsibility age being reached

    @Bloke on M4 December 17, 2019 at 1:38 pm

    +1

  8. Bloke in North Dorset

    I remember our Cub leader gave us older ones a lecture on Criminal Responsibility age being reached

    That promoted a memory of having similar discussions with my father about age of criminal responsibility, although I accept they may be false. I’ll have a chat with my son and see if he remembers similar discussions, although I don’t remember having them,

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