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The Youth Justice System in Queensland is a specific legal system that recognises that children at a vulnerable stage in their development and that it is only appropriate that juveniles are dealt with separate from the adult criminal justice system.  

In Queensland, a child is a person under the age of 18 years. 

The child’s age is determined at the time of the child commits the alleged offence.

It is important to understand the criminal responsibility of children. In short :

  • Children under the age of 10 cannot be held criminally responsible.
  • Children between the ages of 10 and 14 are presumed not to be criminally responsible unless it can be proven that at the time the offence was committed, the child was able to distinguish between right and wrong.
  • Children between 14 and 17 are capable of being criminally responsible but are not responsible to the same extent that an adult would be.

A police officer can arrest a child without a warrant if they reasonably suspect that the child is committing or has committed a serious offence. Police must notify Youth Justice Services and the child’s parents. The child must also be brought promptly before a Children’s Court.

Police have the power to release a child into the custody of a parent or to release them. If a police officer does not grant a child bail, then a bail application can be made to the Children’s Court.

The Children’s Court is a special division of the Magistrates Court which deals with minor offences committed by juveniles and serious criminal offences will usually be referred by the Children’s Court to the Children’s Court of Queensland (CCQ) unless a Magistrate directs the matter to be dealt with in an adult court.

A parent or guardian must attend court with the child and a child has a right to legal representation for their day in court. 

If your child or a child you are the legal guardian for has been charged and has to go to Court, it is critical to seek the advice of a Specialist Criminal Lawyer experienced in handling Youth Justice Matters. 

Howden Saggers Lawyers specialise in dealing with Youth Justice Matters  and we have been assisting people on the Gold Coast and Brisbane since 2002.  

It is important to seek advice as soon as you possibly can.

We can tell you what your options are and advise you of the best course of action.  

We are on your side.

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