The Children (Criminal Proceedings) Act 1987 ('the Act') governs criminal and traffic law proceedings for individuals under 18 years old in New South Wales. According to Section 5 of the Act, individuals under 10 years old cannot be held accountable for offences. This is known as the age of criminal responsibility. Under Section 28(1) of the Act, the Children's Court has jurisdiction over the following issues if the defendant was under 18 at the time of the alleged offence and under 21 at the time of being charged: 1. Proceedings for most offences, except for 'serious children’s indictable offences.' 2. Committal proceedings for any offence. A 'serious children’s indictable offence' includes:
The Children’s Court has jurisdiction over traffic offences involving individuals below the legal driving age or when linked to criminal charges. Other traffic violations by individuals under 18 years old are under the authority of the Local Court.
However, according to subsection 28(2), the Children’s Court can handle traffic offences if:
Various legislations encompass traffic offences such as:
These cover actions like drunk driving, driving with prohibited substances, driving while disqualified, and reckless or aggressive driving.
Section 29 of the Act outlines procedures when a minor faces charges alongside an adult outside the Children’s Court’s jurisdiction. The court can either delay the minor’s case until the co-defendant’s trial concludes or proceed independently, considering factors like the minor’s preference, bail status, justice principles, and expected adjournment duration.
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