Young adults convicted of murder – what is the appropriate discount for youth?
The defendants, BN and HS were aged 19 at the time of the incident for which they were later convicted of murder. BN was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 20 years. HS was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 16 years. The Attorney General appealed the sentences as being unduly lenient. The Court of Appeal upheld BN’s sentence but increased HS’s sentence to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 19 years. This case reiterates the well-established principle that attaining the age of 18 does not represent a cliff edge between being sentenced as a youth and being sentenced as an adult.
R v Beyonce Parkes: A reminder that turning 18 is not a “cliff edge”
The Court of Appeal reiterated the importance of ensuring that a defendant’s age is given proper weight and consideration during the sentencing process. The COA considered the decisions in R v Clarke (2018) EWCA Crim 185 and R v Peters (2005) EWCA Crim 506.s The case is a reminder that age and consequent lack of maturity must be actively brought to the attention of the sentencing court, particularly in cases concerning young adult offenders.
Justice Committee Report calling for change in youth justice
The Justice Committee report makes recommendations including a review of the age of criminal responsibility, data collection on out of court disposals and research in respect of racial disproportionality in the youth justice system.
A briefing on turning 18 in the criminal justice system
This briefing analyses the inequities that arise for children who turn 18 between offence and prosecution and makes proposals for policy and practice reform.
Court of Appeal judgment on the passage of time between offence and sentence
The Court of Appeal considered the relevance of age and the long delay between the commission of the offences and sentencing.
Judicial protocol: expedition involving witnesses aged under 10
The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and Her Majesty’s Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) have signed up to follow a protocol to expedite cases involving witnesses aged under 10.
A note on the age of criminal responsibility
Age of Criminal Responsibility, Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST), June 2018 The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology have published a note which considers whether the current age of criminal responsibility is appropriate by exploring international legal standards, scientific research on mental and moral development and alternative approaches to dealing with children in conflict […]
High court finds age assessment of a child by youth court ‘unlawful’
R (on the application of M) v Hammersmith Magistrates' Court (2017), Divisional Court, Unreported A youth court, who had deemed the claimant to be 18 for the purposes of criminal proceedings, had not made proper enquiries into the claimant's age as is required by section 99 Children and Young Persons Act 1933. A visual asessment was not sufficient or appropriate.
Child and adolescent brain development and its impact on propensity to criminal behaviour
The treatment of young adults in the criminal justice system: Seventh Report of Session 2016-17: House of Commons Justice Committee This report about young adults in the criminal justice system is a helpful reminder to the judiciary, lawyers and other youth justice professionals that adolescent brain development and children's immaturity has a direct impact on criminal behaviour and has implications for how they should be treated in the criminal justice system.
Young age strong mitigating factor in sentencing
R v Finnerty (Daniel Mark)  EWCA Crim 1513 In this case the Court of Appeal quashed an extended sentence given to a 16-year old. He had previously undiagnosed ADHD, dyslexia and dyspraxia. In the court’s judgment, it considered that the appellant’s young age was of particular importance when it came to sentencing and that generally a child should be dealt with less harshly than an adult offender.