The minimum age of criminal responsibility to be increased
May 18, 2016 04:28 pm
A proposal made Minister Wijayadasa Rajapaksa to amend the Penal Code for changing the minimum age for criminal responsibility has been approved by the Cabinet.
Decisions taken by the cabinet of ministers at its meeting held yesterday said, “the Penal Code proclaims that nothing is an offence which is done by a child under eight years of age.
However, internationally, the minimum age of criminal responsibility varies from ages twelve to fourteen.
Psychologists and other experts have opined that 8 years is far too young an age at which to incur criminal responsibility. Accordingly, the proposal made by Hon. Wijayadasa Rajapaksa, Minister of Justice, to amend the Penal Code for changing the minimum age for criminal responsibility as 12 years and in case of a child between 12 and 14 to confer discretion on a Magistrate to determine whether such child has the required degree of maturity to form the requisite intent or to entertain requisite knowledge which serves as the mens rea of the impugned offence, was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.”