LEGAL IDEAS FORUM

JUVENILE CRIMES: WHAT DOES THE LAW RECOMMENDS

INTRODUCTION

In our world today, it is pertinent to note that every one is responsible for his or her actions, and will face the wrath of the law for any crimes committed.

MEANING OF JUVENILE

Pursuant to the black law dictionary a juvenile is “a person who has not reached the age (usually 18) at which one should be treated as an adult by the criminal justice system”. The criminal procedure act -1945 has made it lucid that an adult “is a person has attained the age of seventeen years or over”. It also defined a child as “ a person who has not attained the age of fourteen years”.
In the same vein, Section 2 of the Children and Young Persons law defined a young person as “a person who has attained the age of fourteen years but has not attained the age of eighteen”.

WHAT DOES THE LAW RECOMMENDS

The law recommends an inquiry into the age of the young person. The duty to make an inquiry into the age of the accused only arises where the latter appears to the learned trial judge to be a juvenile but in the event where the accused’s age is presumed or declared to be seventeen years and upwards, it is unnecessary to conduct an inquiry into his age.
Now the age in issue is the age at the point of sentence. Therefore, the accused is liable or fully responsible for the natural consequences of his act but for reason of his age he cannot be sentenced to death. Section 30 of the Children and Young Persons law Cap 19 provides that: “A person under the age of twelve years is not criminally responsible for any act or omission unless it is proved that at the time of doing the act or making the omission he had the capacity to know that he ought not to do the act or make the omission”.
In the case of OMAWUMI V. STATE(2018)LPELR-44276(CA), the appellant was about twelve years of age at the time of Commission of an offence punishable with death if found guilty. The accused was found guilty and sentenced to a corrective detention camp on account of his age. He spent about eight years in custody before he was finally charged to court to face the full wrath of the criminal justice system. In the aforementioned case reference was made to Section 368(3) of the Criminal Procedure Act which reads this:

“Where an offender who in the opinion of the court had not attained the age of seventeen years at the time the offence was committed is found guilty of a capital offence, sentence of death shall not be pronounced or recorded but in lieu thereof, the court shall order such person to be detained during the pleasure of the president and if so ordered he shall be detained in accordance with part 44 of this act notwithstanding anything to the contrary in any written law”.

 
About The Author,
Augustine Mmegbuanaeze is a law student
Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka,
Anambra state, also a legal Author and writer.
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