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Call for rethink on age of criminal responsibility


Call for rethink on age of criminal responsibility

A Christchurch rape case is prompting National Party Law and Order spokesman Tony Ryall to call for a re-think on the age of cri9minal responsibility.

He's responding to concerns raised after a Christchurch 13-year-old who was investigated for rape was able to allegedly attack again because police were powerless to charge him.

The boy was able to use a legal loophole that says anyone under the age of 14 can't be criminally responsible for any offending short of homicide. He was charged with rape for the second allegation because he had turned 14.

Mr Ryall says National has been lobbying since the 1990s to lower the age of criminal responsibility to 12 years old for acts of serious violence.

"It's clear that heinous crimes are being committed by younger and younger people.

"It's time to send them a clear message that if they do adult crimes, they should be confronted by the adult justice system.

"We're not dealing with little angels and, in these types of cases, the system should be allowed to deal with them.

"Our most serious offenders are getting younger and younger. Unless something is done, we'll be seeing more and more young offenders slip through the net," Mr Ryall says.

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