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Defences Infancy Notes

Irish BCL Notes > Irish Criminal Law Notes

This is an extract of our Defences Infancy document, which we sell as part of our Irish Criminal Law Notes collection written by the top tier of Trinity College Dublin students.

The following is a more accessble plain text extract of the PDF sample above, taken from our Irish Criminal Law Notes. Due to the challenges of extracting text from PDFs, it will have odd formatting:

Infancy Children's Act 2001, (as amended) s. 52 (1) A child under twelve can not be charged with an offence except:

* A child of of 10 or 11 can be charged with murder, manslaughter, rape, rape under s.4 or aggravated sexual assault.

* The Doli Incapax rebuttable presumption formerly applied to children 7-14 is abolished

* DPP's consent required to take further criminal proceedings against a child under fourteen. s.53 Where a garda has reasonable grounds to believe that a child under 12 is committing what would otherwise be an offence they must endeavour to take the child to their parent or guardian. Where the child is not receiving adequate care or protection, the HSE must be contacted and the provisions of the Children's Act 1991, must be applied. s.54 Anyone who aids, abetts, counsels or procures a child under 14 in relation to what would otherwise be an offence shall be guilty of that offence. s.76C Allows a court to dismiss a case against a child under 14 where 'having had due regard to the child's age and level of maturity, it determines that the child did not have a full understanding of what was involved in the commission of the offence. C v DPP (HoL 1995) Facts

* The accused, aged 12, was found by a police officer interfering with a motor cycle using a crowbar and ran off.

* He was caught and charged with interfering with a motor vehicle with intention to commit theft.

* He raised the defence of doli incapax and the Divisional Court found that the presumption was outdated and no longer applied. Issue

* Doli incapax Judgment

* Lord Jauncey of Tullichettle (concurring)

* The current rule is absurd but its reform lies within the responsibility of Parliament rather than the courts.

* Lord Bridge of Harwich (concurring)

* Lord Ackner (concurring)

* Lord Lowry (concurring)

* The presumption that a child between 10 and 14 was doli incapax was still part of English law and required that the prosecution bring evidence to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the child knew that he was performing a wrong act, as opposed to an act of mere naughtiness or childish mischief.

* The 'knowledge of wrong' is inappropriate in modern conditions, where failure to prove knowledge of wrong doesn't save a child from punishment, but rather help.

* However, in light of the continued recognition by Government committees of the doctrine it should not be swept away by judicial legislation.

* Lord Browne-Wilkinson (concurring) V v United Kingdom (EctHR 1999)

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