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  • Writer's pictureGeoff Harrison

Juvenile Criminal Records


Criminal Barrister, Criminal Lawyer, Criminal Solicitor, Best Criminal Barrister, Best Criminal Solicitior, Best Criminal Lawyer, Juvenile Criminal Records, s15 Children (Criminal Proceedings) Act 1987

Published by Geoff Harrison | 8 July 2024


Section 15 of the Children (Criminal Proceedings) Act 1987 makes a person's juvenile criminal record inadmissible provided the two pre-conditions are satisfied namely, that the person was not convicted (a child who is under 16 cannot be convicted) and secondly, the person has not, within the period of 2 years prior to the commencement of proceedings for the other offence, been subject to any judgment, sentence or order of a court whereby the person has been punished for any other offence.


A person's criminal record can be an aggravating factor under s21A(2) (d) of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999. However, before taking a person's criminal history into account, the court should explain how the previous convictions have been taken into account. The principles relating to a person's criminal history were set out in Veen v The Queen (No 2) [1988] HCA 14. As observed by Simpson AJA in Meis at [41] - [42]:


The relevant principles were stated authoritatively by Mason CJ, Brennan, Dawson and Toohey JJ in Veen v The Queen (No 2) (1988) 164 CLR 465; [1988] HCA 14 (“Veen (No 2)”) in the following way:


“The antecedent criminal history is relevant, however, to show whether the instant offence is an uncharacteristic aberration or whether the offender has manifested in his commission of the instant offence a continuing attitude of disobedience of the law. In the latter case, retribution, deterrence and protection of society may all indicate that a more severe penalty is warranted. It is legitimate to take account of the antecedent criminal history when it illuminates the moral culpability of the offender in the instant case, or shows his dangerous propensity or shows a need to impose condign punishment to deter the offender and other offenders from committing further offences of a like kind.”


Accordingly, before the applicant’s previous conviction could properly be taken into account as an aggravating factor, it was necessary that the sentencing judge consider:


  • whether the present offending was an uncharacteristic aberration;

  • whether the applicant manifested in the commission of these offences a continuing attitude of disobedience of the law; and

  • whether the applicant’s previous offence illuminates his moral culpability in relation to the current offending or shows a dangerous propensity, or a need to impose “condign punishment” by way of specific and general deterrence.


Other Sources:


Cases:


Extracted Legislation:

CHILDREN (CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS) ACT 1987 - SECT 14

Recording of conviction


(1) Without limiting any other power of a court to deal with a child who has pleaded guilty to, or has been found guilty of, an offence, a court--

(a) shall not, in respect of any offence, proceed to, or record such a finding as, a conviction in relation to a child who is under the age of 16 years, and

(b) may, in respect of an offence which is disposed of summarily, refuse to proceed to, or record such a finding as, a conviction in relation to a child who is of or above the age of 16 years.


(2) Subsection (1) does not limit any power of a court to proceed to, or record such a finding as, a conviction in respect of a child who is charged with an indictable offence that is not disposed of summarily.


CHILDREN (CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS) ACT 1987 - SECT 15

Evidence of prior offences and other matters not admissible in certain criminal proceedings


(1) The fact that a person has pleaded guilty to an offence in, or has been found guilty of an offence by, a court (being an offence committed when the person was a child) shall not be admitted in evidence (whether as to guilt or the imposition of any penalty) in any criminal proceedings subsequently taken against the person in respect of any other offence if--

(a) a conviction was not recorded against the person in respect of the firstmentioned offence, and

(b) the person has not, within the period of 2 years prior to the commencement of proceedings for the other offence, been subject to any judgment, sentence or order of a court whereby the person has been punished for any other offence.


(2) Subsection (1) or (3) does not apply to any criminal proceedings before the Children's Court.


(3) The fact that a person has been dealt with by a warning, caution or youth justice conference under the Young Offenders Act 1997 (being in respect of an alleged offence committed when the person was a child) is not to be admitted in evidence (whether as to guilt or the imposition of any penalty) in any criminal proceedings subsequently taken against the person in respect of any other offence.

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