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Criminal responsibility

A child under the age of 10 years cannot be charged with a criminal offence [see Young Offenders Act 1993 (SA) s 5].

Children between the ages of 10 and 14 years can be charged with a criminal offence, but there is a presumption that a child between these ages does not yet have the capacity to know right from wrong and so cannot form an intention to carry out a criminal act. This is known as the common law doctrine of doli incapax. However, this can be rebutted by evidence to the contrary. This was done in a case where a 12 year old boy was charged with murder and evidence was admitted showing that he had an appreciation of right and wrong [R v M (1977) 16 SASR 589].

A victim of a crime committed by a person (including a child) may apply for compensation from the Victims of Crime Fund for injuries suffered as a result of the crime. The Fund can then recover monies paid out to the victim from the offender, see VICTIMS OF CRIME.

Criminal responsibility  :  Last Revised: Tue Feb 27th 2018
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.