If a person below 16 years old is arrested or summoned to attend court for a crime, they are usually charged in the Youth Courts.
In exceptional cases, a youth offender may be charged in courts other than the Youth Courts if:
Youth offenders' parents or guardians must attend all court hearings with them, unless the court orders otherwise. For youth offenders who do not have a lawyer, their parents or guardians can help to conduct their defence.
The Youth Courts may offer bail for youth offenders so they can stay out of remand during the court process.
In the Youth Courts, there are special rules to protect youth offenders:
An overview of key steps that occur when a youth is arrested and charged in the Youth Courts:
The police will bring the youth to the Youth Courts within 48 hours of the arrest.
There are 3 possible outcomes:
Find out what happens at youth arrest hearings.
The court will determine the appropriate orders, called dispositional orders. Before making the decision, the judge may call for a pre-sentence report and discuss the case with a probation officer, a court family specialist and 2 panel advisers. In certain cases, the judge may call for a case conference before deciding on the orders.
Find out about the types of dispositional orders.
The court will monitor the youth offender's progress through review reports by a probation officer from the Ministry of Social and Family Development.
Find out what happens if the youth disobeys a dispositional order.