Incorrect story in The Times on age of criminal responsibility
Today the Times is running an incorrect story which falsely claims that in a recent podcast interview, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Max Hill QC, called for the age of criminal responsibility to be raised.
This is entirely inaccurate and is a misrepresentation of his comments on the issue. When being interviewed for the KidsLaw podcast, the child interviewer asked for his view on the age of criminal responsibility, which begins at 10 years old in England and Wales. In response, the Director of Public Prosecutions made clear that while children are still developing at this age, this does not mean they should not be held responsible when they break the law.
At no point in the interview, which you can listen to here, does he call for the current age of criminal responsibility to be raised. In fact, he repeatedly makes clear that it is for Parliament to decide whether they want to revisit this age. In doing so, he was simply explaining the law not advocating for change.
During the interview, Max Hill went on to explain how it is complicated to deal with children who commit crimes and that the criminal justice system must look very carefully at each case, making sure that where we take children to court they are truly responsible for what they’ve done.
Max Hill has extensive experience working on complicated cases such as these, including his successful prosecution in 2006 of Danny and Ricky Preddie, who were convicted of manslaughter after the death of ten-year-old Damilola Taylor in London, 2000. The Preddie brothers were 12 and 13 at the time of the killing.
In England and Wales, children between the ages of 10 and 17 can be arrested and taken to court if they commit a crime. They are treated differently from adults and are dealt with by youth courts, given different sentences and depending on the sentence, can be sent to special secure centres for young people rather than adult prisons.
The CPS is committed to ensuring that the special considerations which apply to cases involving a young offender are enshrined in its working practices and form part of the training of its prosecutors.