Criminal age of responsibility

November 27th, 2007 at 2:08 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports on how the Government is planning to increase the age of adult criminal responsibility from 17 to 18, so we come into line with other developed countries and meet UN requirements.

The Police Association have said:

Police Association president Greg O’Connor has slammed the move as “absolutely and utterly ludicrous”.

“The age at which offenders are committing serious crime is dropping, not rising,” he said.

I’m curious as to the claim that all the other countries have the age ofcriminal responsibility at 18. Now it’s only Wikipedia, but a table there says:

UK (Scotland) 8
United States 10
Australia 10
UK (England) 10
UK (Wales) 10
Canada 12
Ireland 12
France 13
Poland 13
Austria 14
Estonia 14
Germany 14
Italy 14
Japan 14
Romania 14
Finland 15
Denmark 15
Norway 15
Sweden 15
Iceland 15

Now this may be more referring to the age at which you can be prosecuted (14 in NZ) but either way it shows we are at the top end of our peers already.

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23 Responses to “Criminal age of responsibility”

  1. reid (16,290 comments) says:

    But how else can Helen get a good UN post? Why d’ya think she’s so obsessed with climate change?

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  2. Andrew W (1,629 comments) says:

    most kids know when they’re breaking the rules by the time they start school, so 5 would be a good age for criminal responsibility to kick in.

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  3. big bruv (13,729 comments) says:

    There is a simple rule of thumb in cases such as this, if Cindy Kiro thinks it is a good idea then you can be sure it is crap.
    How that wimin ever got that job is beyond me.

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  4. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    This will upset one of Dear Leaders lapdog parties. Wasn’t Ron Mark calling for a lowering of the age of criminal responsibility. Looks like Dear Leader will have a conflict of interests, how sad never mind.

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  5. Inventory2 (10,301 comments) says:

    This is an absurd suggestion. I fully support Ron Mark’s move (geez, am I REALLY saying I support Ron Mark?) to lower the age of criminal responsibility so that the little thugs that live in my suburb can actually be made to face some consequences for their anti-social and criminal behaviour, for which they all know the police can do diddly-squat.

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  6. dad4justice (8,142 comments) says:

    Cindy Kiro should be in charge of a dog pound not a Children’s Commission .

    Visit a Court house where you see the ever so young ages of offenders, but what the hell , as the judiciary and cops are a pathetic joke. Youth Court is a laughable deterrent , however that suits the dysfunctional government systems who are mass producing the so -called me generation . These delinquent kids are the product of a modern depraved philosophy endorsed by the freak show labour gummint who just love advocating a lifesytle that says , if it feels good – do it . After all New Zealand is well known for non accountabiluity and the total absence of culpability of individuals , for example , Helen Clark can do a 100 mph through small rural communities endangering lives and Trevor Mallard can stage lets maul a smart alec in parliament . etc…etc… These insane politician people are role models from the gallery of the absurd .

    Why does New Zealand, the land of twisted politicians continue to put this country out of step with the common sense world ? Who said kiwiland wasn’t a Klark utopianism and cess -pit of corruption where children fail !!

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  7. Inventory2 (10,301 comments) says:

    Is this, along with the new sentence of home detention, merely a way for Labour to reduce the prison population prior to the next election? Labour has gone soft on sentencing.

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  8. tim barclay (886 comments) says:

    Do it please Labour Party and lose the election. On the age thing I would treat recidivist youth offenders as Adults. A very small percentage who commit most of the crime are basically feral and represent a real risk to civilised society. Some may have to be locked up forever as being too feral to be let loose into society, these are people who sadly have become institutionalised and in itself represents a failure of the system. But the safety of the community is a larger issue. We have to square up to the fact that a small percentage of people are write-offs and will have to be locked away for good. Grim for them and their families for sure, but their victims and their potential victims will be relieved.

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  9. virtualmark (1,513 comments) says:

    Inventory2 … I suspect Labour have always been soft on sentencing. Well, at least “modern” Labour (the PC version of Labour that’s been in place for the last 20 years or so).

    You’d have to expect National to have a fairly robust law & order platform in the election next year – when 96? per cent of the population vote in a referendum for sterner sentences then raising the age of criminal responsibility seems out of touch, and likely to cost you votes if there’s an alternative that’s more in step with what the public want …

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  10. Graeme Edgeler (3,283 comments) says:

    Yes – that list is the age of criminal responsibility, not adult criminal responsibility.

    I look forward to hearing the Green position on this, hopeful that they want to lower the age of adult criminal responsibility to 16, not raise it to 18. Adult minimum wage at 16, vote at 16, surely this is next?

    For me, when the discussion over the drinking age was going ’round, I wanted it to stay 18, because, I decided, that’s when you became an adult, and should be forced to take responsibility for bad decisions (even if your brain was still growing and you did irreparable damage by drinking etc.). I said at the time that I wondered whether this should mean the age of full criminal responsibility should be increased – I wasn’t a fan of the obvious answer.

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  11. Bevan (3,923 comments) says:

    Wonder what NZ First thinks of this piece of legislation?

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  12. virtualmark (1,513 comments) says:

    Graeme, that’s a good point. We should be trying to align all these key “ages” of rights & responsibilities. So on that basis I can see an argument for criminal responsibility raising to 18 (I don’t support lowering drinking or voting to 16).

    But I also like Tim Barclay’s comment that perhaps recidivist offenders below that age are handled through a different (tougher) system.

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  13. Andrew W (1,629 comments) says:

    “that list is the age of criminal responsibility, not adult criminal responsibility.”

    “I said at the time that I wondered whether this should mean the age of full criminal responsibility should be increased”

    Ok, I sort of get the difference between criminal responsibility and adult criminal responsibility, but where did “full criminal responsibility” come from?

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  14. Right of way is Way of Right (1,121 comments) says:

    Street Gangs start recruiting at a very young age, so how about we start prosecuting at a very young age too!

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  15. Graeme Edgeler (3,283 comments) says:

    Andrew – “full criminal responsibility”=”adult criminal responsibility”. I think it reasonable to assert that the level of criminal responsibility to which we hold 14-16 year-olds is currently less than full.

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  16. PhilBest (5,121 comments) says:

    Well of course when their education policy continually diminishes the mental age of young NZ-ers I suppose they need to start adjusting the way the law effects them too.

    Funny though that our secular leftist leadership seem to regard youngsters as OK for screwing at the age of 12, and are trying by hook or by crook to make this happen by nonparliamentary methods if they can’t actually legislate for it.

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  17. Andrew W (1,629 comments) says:

    I’ll go for the same criminal responsibilities from a young age but with age appropriate punishments, while nobody wants to see preteens surving adult sentences, it’s madness to have them beyond the law.
    So “full” criminal responsibility for everyone but “adult”, “youth” and “child” punishments.

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  18. Johnboy (16,077 comments) says:

    Space must be kept available in the prisons for all who make a political statement without due authorisation next year. Hence raising the age for non-political prisoners. QED really or application of the new Law of Common Sense!

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  19. kehua (225 comments) says:

    The age of criminal responsibility should be lowered to 12 and parental responsibility set at 16. Many of these video brainwashed kids are so far removed from their peer age-group you are already dealing with quite sophisticated criminal minds in that adolescent age group. They should be responsible for their actions and their parents should be responsible for reparation of damage etc until the child reaches 16. Forget about the effect `today` and look at the deterent factor, it may take 5/6 years to work, but it will.

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  20. baxter (893 comments) says:

    Up until 1962 the age for criminal responsibility was 8 if the Police could establish the offender knew what he was doing was wrong and at age eleven the offender was fully responsible. They were law abiding times. Parental responsibility was paramount and they would invariably be charged with having a child who was not under proper control…Greg O’Connor is right the gangs would jump for joy, another year of penalty free crime for their Prospects and fallguys to hold their hands up for.

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  21. Andrew W (1,629 comments) says:

    baxter, I was thinking of 5, but 8’s good.

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  22. Tauhei Notts (1,693 comments) says:

    I recall some silly politicians just a few months ago pushing for the voting age to be reduced to sixteen.
    In a democracy voting is the most important thing a person will do. And if those politicians think that 16 is old enough to vote, then they are being hypocritical in not pushing for the age of criminal responsibility to be reduced to 16.

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