Sri Lanka to raise minimum age for juvenile convictions

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Colombo, June 3 (IANS) Sri Lanka will soon raise the minimum age for juvenile convictions from the existing eight-year-old to 12-year-old, authorities said on Sunday.

According to Justice Ministry Secretary W. Adikari, children under 12 who were involved in criminal activities were not mature enough to realise the gravity of their crimes, reports Xinhua news agency.

Hence, the government believed there should be a more holistic approach in dealing with juvenile offenders, he said.

The proposed amendment, which will soon be presented in Parliament, specifies that any offence committed by a child under 12 years of age would not be a crime.

The amendment will also provide that in cases where the child is above 12 years and under 14 years of age, the magistrate will have the discretion to determine whether such a child has the required maturity to understand the knowledge of the offence committed.

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Along with this, the Sri Lankan Code of Criminal Procedure too would be amended to allow the magistrate to refer the child to a government medical officer for examination and report to the police.

The medical officer would also report whether the child is in need of any therapeutic intervention.

–IANS

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