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How the court decides on dispositional orders

After a youth offender pleads guilty or is found guilty, the court may adjourn the hearing to call for one or more of the following:

  • A pre-sentence report.
  • A case conference.

A pre-sentence report

The judge may call for a pre-sentence report by a probation officer from the Ministry of Social and Family Development. This will include relevant information such as the youth offender’s:

  • General conduct.
  • Home environment.
  • School records.
  • Medical history.

The judge will discuss the case with the probation officer, a court family specialist and 2 panel advisers before deciding on the appropriate orders. This session will take place before the next court hearing for the case.

A case conference

In some cases, the court may ask the youth offender and the youth's parents or guardians to attend a case conference before deciding on the orders to make. This is not a counselling session but an extension of the Youth Courts process. A court family specialist will conduct the session.

The aim of each case conference depends on the circumstances. The court will set out the purposes of the case conference, which may include:

  • Reprimanding the youth offender.
  • Giving the youth offender a formal caution in a prescribed manner.
  • Requiring the youth offender to pay compensation to the victim of the offence.
  • Requiring the youth offender to apologise to the victim.
  • Recommending or initiating an additional order for rehabilitative counselling. This can be for the youth offender, the youth's parents or guardians, or both.
  • Requiring the offender to perform any other acts that the court deems appropriate.

Need help?

The information here is for general guidance as the courts do not provide legal advice. If you need further help, you may want to get independent legal advice.

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