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QLD Can Adult Penalties and Jail Arise from Charges When Juvenile?

Discussion in 'Criminal Law Forum' started by Accused's Dad, 25 July 2015.

  1. Accused's Dad

    Accused's Dad Member

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    Hi, my son was accused & charged with serious criminal law offences when he was 14 years old, and due to an elongated and very botched investigation, we are now 3 years down the track and he is now 17 years old.

    The prosecution has lodged an appeal to have the serious charges re-laid as the magistrate used the incorrect legal reference when he dropped them. We have been told verbally from our legal representatives that the prosecution has offered a plea bargain if he pleads guilty to the lesser charges, all other charges (including serious) will be dropped and he will avoid any criminal record, however if he fights the allegations and is found guilty, especially now as he could be 18years old by the time the trial finishes, he could face imprisonment in an adult jail.
    Could this be correct?

    Would it be any help to contact a legal ombudsman in regards to the very botched investigation/proceedings as there were other kids accused and named , however most have not even been interviewed and none others charged.
     
  2. Tracy B

    Tracy B Well-Known Member

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    Hi Accused's Dad,

    In QLD, children are to dealt with in the adult criminal system until they turn 17. If a trial occurs after your son turns 17, then he will not longer be heard in the juvenile court, but treated as an adult. This is the case even if the offence occurred when he was under 17. However, the court might give some leniency for the fact that the act occurred when he was a minor and this should be reflected in sentencing.

    For example, an adult who was later found to have assaulted someone when he was younger will not be heard in juvenile court, and he will not be treated as a minor. He will be tried like every other adult. However, the fact that the assault happened when the adult was a young child and probably did not understand what he was doing, would go some way to lightening his sentence.

    There is no legal ombudsman. You can complain against the police, or against the Director of Public Prosecutions or the private lawyer involved. However, they will need to be lodged at different places. You can certainly bring up the botched investigation in court to help your son's case. However, you should speak with your son's lawyer about this.

    If you have any questions, contact Legal Aid QLD or your local community legal centre.
     
  3. Accused's Dad

    Accused's Dad Member

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    Thanks Tracy, another quick question , as he may now be tried as an adult , however some of the complainants are still minors does this also mean his name may be published?
     
  4. Tracy B

    Tracy B Well-Known Member

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    Hi Accused's Dad,

    By "complainants", do you mean victims of the offence? It will not matter whether or not the names of the victims are published (given they are minors). His name, as the defendant, may still be published, as this is the common practice with trying adult cases. There may be special criminal procedures adopted to protect the identities of the victims/witnesses. For example, the minors may give evidence in written form, or video link, or with a lawyer/guardian present. They may be given a code letter, instead of their real name, and this code letter may be published in the judgment.

    Does this answer your question?
     

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