Advertisement
If you have a new account but are having problems posting or verifying your account, please email us on [email protected] for help. Thanks :)
Hello all! Please ensure that you are posting a new thread or question in the appropriate forum. The Feedback forum is overwhelmed with questions that are having to be moved elsewhere. If you need help to verify your account contact [email protected]

Anonymity for offenders who commit crimes as children: what is the law?

Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 40,011 ✭✭✭✭ohnonotgmail


    well in the first case the man is now 60 so the rules around protecting his name wouldn't apply I don't think. His sister though would have to give permission for her to be named which allows him to be named.



  • Registered Users Posts: 6,090 ✭✭✭Claw Hammer


    If the person is over 18 at the time of conviction and the victim waives their right to anonymity, the culprit can be named. Many victims don't want to be named as it will show up on google for years after.



  • Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 10,547 Mod ✭✭✭✭Robbo


    Sections 93 and 252 of the Children Act 2001 allow for child defendants to be kept anonymous. In relation to the historic sexual abuse cases you linked to, it appears that the defendants weren't tried as children and the offences were committed prior to the enactment of the Children Act so they would be treated as normal sexual offence cases where the victim can waive their right to anonymity.



  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]


    But if the case takes years to get to court, surely it would be unfair to try somebody as an adult for a crime they committed as a child? Surely if we accept different laws and conditions to when children commit crimes it's unjust to try them by adult standards simply because of a delay on the part of the state in prosecuting them?

    I see in 2016 in England a government-commissioned review proposed a law change to grant "lifetime anonymity" to all child offenders. That would seem like a fair proposal if we agree that children should be judged differently to adults. I'm not sure if they have done so yet: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-38457472



  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]


    Before 2001 were child offenders named in sexual offence cases? I doubt it very much. If I understand this correctly, it is legal in Ireland to try adults by adult rules, even though the crimes were committed when they were children. How is that justified in law when the same people would have been tried as children for the precise same crime if the State had prosecuted them earlier?



  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 8,925 ✭✭✭GM228


    But if the case takes years to get to court, surely it would be unfair to try somebody as an adult for a crime they committed as a child?

    Such a scenario may be considered unfair if there has been what is known as a blameworthy prosecutorial delay, otherwise there will generally be no issue of unfairness where a trial takes place post 18 years of age for a pre 18 years of age committed offence.


    Surely if we accept different laws and conditions to when children commit crimes it's unjust to try them by adult standards simply because of a delay on the part of the state in prosecuting them?

    It's not a case of accepting different laws, it's the laws the Oireachtas have chosen to implement and such matters have already been dealt with by the courts by way of Judicial Review, as already stated unless there is a blameworthy prosecutorial delay then there is no issue, that is the position of the courts.


    I see in 2016 in England a government-commissioned review proposed a law change to grant "lifetime anonymity" to all child offenders. That would seem like a fair proposal if we agree that children should be judged differently to adults. I'm not sure if they have done so yet: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-38457472

    It was never implemented, and is worth noting that the law already allows for such, it's just not automatic, to date only 6 people have ever been granted such, two of whom are Jamie Bulger's killers Robert Thompson and Jon Venables.


    Before 2001 were child offenders named in sexual offence cases? I doubt it very much.

    Generally no, but they could be (as is still the case) where it is considered in the public interest, prior the the 2001 Act there were still reporting restrictions (I can't remember if this was via an amendment to the Childrens Act 1908 or a common law provision), and an accepted norm under international law under the provisions of the Beijing Rules of 1985.


    If I understand this correctly, it is legal in Ireland to try adults by adult rules, even though the crimes were committed when they were children. How is that justified in law when the same people would have been tried as children for the precise same crime if the State had prosecuted them earlier?

    This is pretty much standard in every jurisdiction around the world and in accordance with internationally recognised criminal standards regarding child offenders. It's important to note that safeguards afforded to child offenders apply to the time of trial, not the time of the offence.



  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]


    "This is pretty much standard in every jurisdiction around the world and in accordance with internationally recognised criminal standards regarding child offenders. It's important to note that safeguards afforded to child offenders apply to the time of trial, not the time of the offence."

    Very interesting. I had assumed children were tried differently because they had different consciousness/development/awareness of their crimes than an adult should have and were given different/lighter punishments as a result. If it's not to do with the age they committed the crime, what's the justification in treating child offenders more leniently (including giving anonymity)?



  • Registered Users Posts: 8,925 ✭✭✭GM228


    Very interesting. I had assumed children were tried differently because they had different consciousness/development/awareness of their crimes than an adult should have and were given different/lighter punishments as a result. If it's not to do with the age they committed the crime, what's the justification in treating child offenders more leniently (including giving anonymity)?

    They are still treated differently though, they may be over the age of 18 during trial and tried as an adult, but, the appropriate sentencing has to still take account of the age of the offender at the time and their mental state.



  • Registered Users Posts: 25,742 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus


    The special rules and procedures about trying children address the difficulty a child would have in understanding and engaging with the court process, conducting a defence, etc. Obviously, if the defendant is now an adult, he won't face those difficulties and won't need the special rules.

    They need to be distinguished from rules about the criminal responsibility of children. For those, it's your age at the time of the alleged offence that matters, not your age at the time of the trial or the procedures that apply at the trial. So, you can't be charged with an offence in relation to acts you did when you were under 12 years of age; the state can't get around this restriction by waiting until you are 18 and "trying you as an adult". Similarly, the rules about spent convictions for offences committed before the age of 18 still apply even if you are now aged over 18.



  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]


    Thanks. So would it be true to say somebody who commited a crime as a child does *not* get a harsher sentence if he is charged for that crime in his adulthood than he would get for the exact same crime if he had been charged for it as a child? Is there any impact on the sentencing due to the accused's age at the time of the *trial*?

    Also, how would you explain the rationale behind a court naming a person if they're found guilty in adulthood of committing a crime when they were a child, but not publicly naming them for the exact same crime if at the time of their trial they are still a child?



  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 25,742 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus


    He should not get a longer sentence if tried as an adult, but whatever sentence he does get will be served in an adult prison, where the regime is considerably harder.

    I'm guess the rationale for the different attitude to naming the convicted person is that, as an adult, he is not exposed to harm by being named in the way that he would be if he were a child.



  • Registered Users Posts: 8,925 ✭✭✭GM228


    "Also, how would you explain the rationale behind a court naming a person if they're found guilty in adulthood of committing a crime when they were a child, but not publicly naming them for the exact same crime if at the time of their trial they are still a child?"

    Remember child anonimity only lasts until the age of 18 anyway so weather or not they are tried pre or post 18 makes no difference to having anonimity or not once past 18.

    The only real difference is when tried before the age of 18 their details are less likely to enter the public domain post 18 simply because those details are no where to be found, but, if those details do come to light down the road once they are over 18 then they have no right to claim the anonimity they once had.



Advertisement