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Defense of infancy

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The defense of infancy is a form of defense known as an excuse so that defendants falling within the
definition of an "infant" are excluded from criminal liability for their actions, if at the relevant time, they had not
reached an age of criminal responsibility. After reaching the initial age, there may be levels of responsibility
dictated by age and the type of offense committed.
Under the English common law the defense of infancy was expressed as a set of presumptions. A child under
the age of seven was presumed incapable of committing a crime. The presumption was conclusive, prohibiting
the prosecution from offering evidence that the child had the capacity to appreciate the nature and
wrongfulness of what he had done. Children aged seven to fourteen (13 years, 364 days 23'59'59" aged) were
presumed incapable of committing a crime but the presumption was rebuttable. The prosecution could
overcome the presumption by proving that the child understood what he was doing and that it was
wrong.
[1]
Children fourteen and older were presumed capable of committing a crime. However, the child could
rebut this presumption by establishing that because of his immaturity he was incapable of understanding what
he had done or the wrongfulness of his conduct.
[2]

England and Wales[edit]
Criminal responsibility is age 10 in England and Wales.
[3]
This is when a child becomes criminally responsible for their actions and the
consequences of their actions. From this age onwards, they can be prosecuted for any criminal offence in a Youth Court. In exceptional
circumstances, most notably the case of the murder of James Bulger in Liverpool in 1993, children can be tried as an adult in an adult court.
From the age of 10 onwards, individuals are then considered an adult in the eyes of the law. Therefore, all punishment given by the courts or
other law enforcement agencies will rest solely upon them.
Pros[edit]
Rehabilitation (counseling and psychiatric treatment) is seen by some critics as a soft option that will make children believe that they
are spending short periods of time in a holiday camp
[dubious discuss]
. In the US, more than half the boys who were put under counseling
orders after offences rather than under detention ended up re-offending during the period they were undergoing counseling. It is better
if whatever rehabilitation program is planned takes place in some sort of detention facility. They can still be separated from hardened
adult criminals, but that does not mean they should not be detained for similar periods of time.
Cons[edit]
Child crime is different from adult crime in that the offenders are, in most legal systems, not deemed to be fully conscious moral
individuals. As such, the best way to deal with them is through rehabilitation rather than punishment.
The only long term solution to juvenile crime is reform of the child. Children are more susceptible to reform and the rate of recalcitrance
for child offenders under counseling in the US is significantly lower than that of adult offenders. Even if some end up re-offending, it
does mean that just under half of those who had been given the chance to return to normal life took up that chance and did not re-
offend. Putting them in a prison, and even worse with adult offenders is likely to increase the chance of recalcitrance because they will
be in the same environment as other offenders who will be a negative influence on them.
Members of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) are criticising
the Danish governments proposals to lower the age of responsibility to 14, saying that the
U.N. wants the age of responsibility around the world generally raised instead.
Last week, Justice Minister Brian Mikkelsen (Cons) said that a reduction in the age of
criminal responsibility to 14 was within U.N. recommendations. Although a 2007 report
from the CRC termed a criminal age of between 14 and 16 as acceptable, it also called on
member countries to work to increase the criminal age.
I dont know enough about the minister to know whether he is looking for an alibi, but his
comments resemble political comments in other countries where politicians consciously
attempt to mislead the public, says CRC former adviser Don Cipriani, who authored the
draft of the United Nations view on the age at which children may be charged with a criminal
offence.
The Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is a body of 18 independent experts under
the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights that monitors implementation of the
Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The CRC has repeatedly condemned reductions in the age of criminal responsibility, and the
ministers statement is clearly not a correct interpretation of recommendations from the
Committee, Cipriani says.
CRC
Current members of the CRC tend to agree.
The Committee has always been against reducing the age of criminal responsibility. I am
happy that the minister is using the United Nations as an argument, but of course I am not
happy that he is using it in this way, says CRC Member Maria Herczog, who adds that there
is nothing to prove that a reduction reduces crime.
Herczog says she plans to question the Danish government next time the CRC is to study
Danish conditions.
Other members of the Committee say they are worried at the signal effect that move will have
on other countries.
In Lithuania there is a debate about reducing the age of criminal responsibility from 14 to
12. Proponents of reductions in the new EU countries can now say that it Denmark can
reduce from 15 to 14, then we can reduce from 14 to 13 or 12, says CRC Member Dainius
Puras.
Rejects criticism
Conservative Justice Spokesman Tom Behnke says he doesnt understand the criticism and
rejects the notion that the government proposal runs contrary to UN recommendations.
The U.N. may have an idea that you shouldnt reduce the age of criminal responsibility, but
that doesnt change the fact that the U.N. has said OK to 14 years of age. To say that we are
going against U.N. recommendations is therefore an over-interpretation. It may be that we
are doing something that the United Nations would prefer us not to do, but it is a decision we
have taken because we find it necessary, Behnke says.
SocDems
The opposition Social Democratic Social Affairs Spokeswoman Mette Frederiksen says that
Justice Minister Mikkelsen is using the United Nations as legitimacy in desperation at not
being able to determine the government policy.
There are many Conservatives who dont like the idea of children going to prison. Everyone
knows that it is the Danish Peoples Party that has pushed through this reduction. So
(Mikkelsen) is looking around to find something to hang it on but even that doesnt hold.
At best, this is shoddy. At worst it is a conscious re-writing of the United Nations words,
Frederiksen says.
Edited by J ulian I sherwood
The Filipino child is not dispensable
BY AMBER KOONCE
POSTED ON 11/26/2012 11:43 PM | UPDATED 11/27/2012 5:39 PM
MANILA, Philippines - This week, the Senate prepares to vote on House Bill No. 6052 which will lower the age of criminal
liability in the nation from 15 to 12 years old.
With the absence of a juvenile justice system, this means that children in conflict with the law (CICLs) as young as 12 will be
susceptible to the same judgment and punishment under the law as 30- and 40-year-olds.
This bill will amend Republic Act 9433 or the Juvenile Justice Act passed in 2006. RA 9433 sets 15 as the age for criminal
liability. It also prescribes other rehabilitative measures to help reform the behavior of youth who engage in crime and assist
their integration in society as responsible citizens.
I consider the 2006 Act arguably to be one of the most progressive, triumphant stances this nation has taken on behalf of its
most vulnerable members.
Prior to the passage of this Act, children as young as 9 were legislatively susceptible to the same judgment and punishment
as adults. Many were imprisoned with adults raped, tortured, starved, and abused. Some of these abuses were highlighted
in the Ditsi Carolino documentary, "Bunso."
Many of those who support the amendment are concerned children are increasingly being used by syndicates to commit
crimes, and believe that incarcerating these children will deter syndicates from conspiring with them.
I would argue there is an issue deeper than the involvement of syndicates. This is an issue of values, and how much we
value this nations children and their futures. As fiercely as we stand for the lives and futures of the unborn, so should we
stand for the futures of children after their birth. Even if you label the little Juan "The Problem" and throw "The Problem"
behind bars, one truth will remain: The Filipino child is not dispensable.
Joshua's story
Children in poverty fight to traverse a dangerous landscape every day.
Children do not select their families. Children are unable to choose where they live and what kind of education they can
afford. Children do not have the ability to decide on their socio-economic status. But when they step inside a courtroom, the
consequences from all of these variables come weighing down on their shoulders with the swift stroke of a gavel. This is the
end result of a life with little-to-no options that many CICLs faced before 2006.
Last week, I interviewed a young Filipino boy named Joshua from Barangay Batasan Hills. His story put a face on just how
bright the futures of our Filipino youth are when they are given the chance to change when we invest in their potential with
communal support, rehabilitation, and opportunity.
Joshua is a soft-spoken, kind, sweet, and generous boy. The eldest, Joshua works several jobs to help with the finances.
Abandoned by his birth father, instead of going to school, Joshua helps his stepfather with waste picking. It was among the
mounds of waste that Joshua was befriended by boys who introduced him to theft.
Joshua explained that when he was offered the chance to make an honest living by working at a car shop, he jumped at the
opportunity and was promised P10,500 for 3 months of labor. Excited about his new income, Joshua exerted all of his time,
energy, and effort for his new boss.
At the end of his 3-month commitment, Joshua was dismayed when his boss paid him only P3,500 and refused to pay him
the promised income. With the weight of supporting his siblings on his shoulders, desperation and rage seared his heart.
Joshua had been cheated.
With no adults to advocate for him, Joshua took matters into his own hands and stole two car parts to trade in for additional
money. He was caught in the act.
Under the 2006 juvenile code, Joshua was paired with a social worker, linked to a barangay mentor, served a month in a
youth home, enrolled in an Alternative Learning program, and completed 45 hours of community service that changed his
life for the better.
Discernment vs. desperation
Joshuas story personalizes who will be affected if this amendment is approved. The amendment says, A child above
twelve years old to fifteen years of age shall likewise be exempt from criminal liabilityHowever, if the child has acted with
discernment, in which case, such child shall be subjected to appropriate proceedings in accordance with this Act.
When Joshua stole the car parts he knew that what he was doing was wrong. Joshua had discernment, so under the new
bill he would have been punished as an adult.
However, what is also evident in Joshuas case is that a lack of options due to poverty, exploitation, and the absence of
adult support, left him in a desperate situation.
Morals become hazy in moments of desperation. Through the full implementation of the Juvenile Justice Act of 2006,
support, rehabilitation, and access to education mitigate the desperate circumstances many CICLs face, so that they can
seize positive opportunities.
Invest in the youth
The best investment any nation can make, to secure a brighter future, is to invest in its youth.

The Philippines has an undeniable love for children. Early in October, President Benigno Aquino III highlighted this
commitment by establishing Juvenile Justice and Welfare Consciousness Week. However aside from a groundswell of
consciousness, we need a groundswell of investment.
We need mentors, barangay leaders, social workers, and political leaders, who are willing to invest their time, talents, and
energy into providing support and guidance to help reform our children in conflict with the law. Doing so will encourage them
to value their own futures, thus becoming valuable contributors to the nation.
Communal support
Another former CICL Francis Francisco from Barangay Bagbag in Novaliches, is another example of the transformative
power of mentors and communal support.
When Francis was 17 he had a murder case filed against him. Although the case was eventually dropped due to lack of
evidence, a local church reached out to Francis who was deeply steeped in a hopeless life of drugs and crime.
The pastor of the church was also a former CICL, and under his mentorship Francis submitted his life to Christ.
Although Francis tattoos prevent him from securing a job, he fills his time singing with the worship team at his church, and
serving as a mentor for other at-risk youth in his community.
I know that not all children in conflict with the law will be success stories like Joshua and Francis, but I believe it is worth
fighting for the futures of children who do have the capacity to change.
Jail is not the answer
The Filipino child is not dispensable.
Prison sentences are finite but their effects aren't. Our communities will eventually have to face these broken children when
they are released back into society as broken adults. Rehabilitation is not the goal of a prison cell.
We need to move forward with the full implementation of the Juvenile Justice Act of 2006 to ensure that the core needs of
CICLs are addressed. These children need to be reformed and reintegrated as productive citizens.
Criminal acts cost the Philippines unknown millions of pesos in incarceration costs, and bring lost human capital, lost talent,
lost labor, and losses to victims.
Rehabilitative measures for our youth, as established under the original Juvenile Justice Act of 2006, have the potential to
restore these millions to the public sphere. Allow this potential to be realized. - Rappler.com
Over the past 5 years, Amber has worked with incarcerated juveniles in detention centers located in Ghana, Scotland, and
the United States. She is now working under the Humanitarian Legal Assistance Foundation as a Luce scholar, forwarding
the rehabilitation of children in conflict with the law in the Philippines.
Senators want age of criminal liability returned to 9
yrs. old
KIMBERLY JANE TAN, GMA NewsSeptember 12, 2011 4:35pm
25 2 7 735


Tags: Chiz Escudero
(Updated 11:41 p.m.) As the Senate committee on justice and human rights readies its recommendations to amend the law
which exempts offenders under 15 years old from criminal liability, the legislator who authored the law refuses to take a step
back.

Sen. Francis Escudero said Monday his committee will also seek to lower the age of criminal liability to nine years old, which
was the previous age exemption under the Revised Penal Code until the law was superseded by RA 9344.

He said his panel will come out with a report next week recommending the suspension of a provision in Republic Act No.
9344 or the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006, which mandates that offenders 15 years old and below be exempted
from criminal liability.

Hindi na maari katulad ngayon na kapag below 15, kahit anong krimen pa ang ginawa ay pakakawalan ng walang kaso
man lang," he said.

Calls to amend the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act surfaced after some minors were arrested last week for allegedly
victimizing taxi drivers in Guadalupe, Makati City. Three other boys, allegedly part of this criminal youth gang known as the
Batang Hamog," were also apprehended in Manila on Monday.

Their common practice is to try opening doors of unsuspecting motorists idling at stoplights. Since many motorists
apparently keep their doors unlocked, the boys grab anything inside the vehicles, especially bags. In one CCTV video
shown on the news, a boy punched a driver in the face before running off.



Under RA 9344, a child who is 15 years old or below at the time of the commission of the offense shall be exempted from
criminal liability but will be subjected to an intervention program."

But Escudero noted that the intervention program is not being implemented because the local government units do not have
the capacity and funding to create such a program.

Kaya nga suspension lamang ang nais namin, dahil hindi pa lang siguro handa yung infrastructure para dito pero baka
dumating ang panahon na handa na tayo, eh, di doon na lang siguro ipatupad,"he said.

Kiko defends Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act

But Senator Francis Pangilinan, who authored RA 9344, told GMA News Online in a text message on Monday that the law
was not given a chance to be fully implemented.
Juvenile Justice Law bright spots, dark side
Sen. Pangilinan insists there are some bright spots" in the implementation of the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Law (RA 9344), particularly when [local government
units] take the lead in ensuring proper implementation of the law and provide support for intervention programs."

He cited the case of Wensley who, while then a minor, was arrested for theft in Marikina City and made to undergo an intervention program under the Department
of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

RA 9344 defines Intervention" as a series of activities which are designed to address issues that caused the child to commit an offense. It may take the form of an
individualized treatment program which may include counseling, skills training, education, and other activities that will enhance his/her psychological, emotional
and psycho-social well-being."

Pangilinan said years later, Wensley was reformed and reintegrated into society and now works as a gasoline station attendant.

The senator then cited the case of Richard was arrested in 2007 for violating the Omnibus Election Code and allegedly being a gun-for-hire". He said the boy was
placed in a foundation for seven months then placed under the care of a foster family. He said that under the DSWD intervention program, Richard was able to
finish two vocational courses and got himself employed by a construction company in Laguna.

The charges against Richard were eventually dismissed due to lack of merit," Pangilinan said. He is only one of the many youth in conflict with the law who have
been given a new lease on life, thanks to the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act."

But the provision in RA 9344 that mandates putting children in conflict with the law in such intervention programs is the very same provision that critics of the law
wanted to amend.

Section 6 of RA 9344 provides that a child fifteen years of age or under at the time of the commission of the offense shall be exempt from criminal liability." But the
same provision also requires that such a child shall be subjected to an intervention program pursuant to Section 20 of [RA 9344]."


When PNoy [President Benigno Aquino III] took over last year, the council tasked to oversee the implementation of the law
had only five employees, had no office of its own and had no executive director. It was only last year under the new
administration that it was given the needed funding support," Pangilinan said.

If we are to amend the law we should do so by strengthening the law rather than suspending it. The problem is not with the
law but primarily with the failure of the executive (branch) to implement the law," he added.

Nowhere in the law does it state that we should simply let youth offenders go, regardless of their age. Nowhere in the law
does it state that children in conflict with the law are exempt of any kind of justice," he pointed out in a separate
statement. Ang sinasabi sa batas ay hindi natin dapat husgahan at ikulong ang mga batang nagkakasala sa parehong
paraan na hinuhusgahan at kinukulong ang mga mas matanda."

Pangilinan identified two major obstacles in implementing the law he authored, namely the delayed release of funding to
train law enforcers on juvenile justice and the misunderstanding of many as regards the provisions of the Juvenile Justice
Act.

Dalawa ang naging malaki nating balakid sa pagsasatupad ng batas: una, ngayong taon lang na ito nilabas ang pondo para
sa pagpapatupad ng batas na dapat noong 2006 pa ibinigay ng administrasyong Arroyo. Hindi nabigyan ng training ang
ating mga law enforcers. Sunod, marami sa mga dapat na nakakaintindi sa batas ang hindi pa rin nakakaintindi sa batas.
Sinasabi nilang pinakakawalan natin ang mga batang may sala, e hindi naman iyon ang nakasaad sa batas," he said.

Before we consider repealing or suspending the law, lets give it a chance now that the Aquino administration has
released funding for its implementation. And, before anything else, lets make sure that all stakeholders read and understand
the law so we can help in its effective implementation," he said.

Support for Chiz's proposal

Senate Majority Leader Vicente Tito" Sotto III and Senator Panfilo Lacson supported Escudero's suggestion.

Kung titingnan natin, pababa nang pababa (ang edad ng mga kriminal), paano mo mase-serve ang justice kung exempted
sila sacrime [that] they are committing?" said Lacson in an interview on Monday.

Lacson had previously served as chief of the Philippine National Police.

Sotto, who used to chair the Dangerous Drugs Board, said he personally encountered problems about the age exemption
when he was still in the executive branch.

The drug dealers have been using couriers who are below 18 years old, pag nahuli namin ni hindi namin makuhanan ng
impormasyon... kasi darating agad yung mga abogado ng mga drug dealer at ipapaturnover sa DSWD, so hilung-hilo ang
PDEA at PNP in the issue of drugs," Sotto said in a separate interview.

Sotto last year filed Senate Bill No. 43 which seeks to lower the age of exemption from 15 to 11 years old. But on Monday,
he said that he is also amicable to further lowering it back to nine years old.

At least two other bills seeking to introduce amendments to RA 9344 are pending before the Senate.

Kiko: Youth offenders not scot-free"

But Pangilinan pointed out that RA 9344 provides for a separate justice system for children and youth, with the belief that
our youth should not be condemned to lives of criminality by throwing them into the same jail as hardened criminals."

The Juvenile Justice Law works under a system of reformative justice, putting in place a system and a program for
rehabilitating our youth in conflict with the law. While minors, as a general rule, will not be held to account for their acts
under our criminal justice system, these children in conflict with the law are to be held to account for their acts under the
Juvenile Justice system," he explained.

Youth offenders cannot get away scot-free. Under the law, even minors may be held liable, and if they are above fifteen
(15) years old, and they may be prosecuted and held liable criminally as an adult," he emphasized.

It is against the law to release a child without going through the proper diversion program moreso if the offender is a
repeat offender. Also, involuntary confinement is a remedy available, especially for minors involved i n serious offenses
and releasing a child involved in a serious offense is a violation of the Juvenile Justice Law." MRT/RSJ/VS/HS, GMA
News