The Duty of 'A Responsible Person' Under Section 13 of the Children (Criminal Proceedings) Act 1987 (NSW)
AbstractIt is well accepted that children accused of criminal offences are at a considerable disadvantage during an interview with police. In these circumstances there is a real risk that they may make untrue admissions or be induced to breech the fundamental principle against self-incrimination. In New South Wales, the Legislature enacted the Children (Criminal Proceedings) Act 1987 (NSW), and through s 13 of that Act endeavoured to proscribe the way children are interviewed by police. An integral part of this section is a provisions that 'a person responsible for the child' should be present at the time that the child speaks with the police'. This paper will consider the role and duty of a person responsible for a child in the light of recent case law, and in the context of international standards and benchmarks. It will be argued that the role of a person responsible is pro-active, and that a proper interpretation of the case law supports this view. In addition, as a fundamental human right, the interpretation of this role must be one that, by necessity, facilitates a child being able to act upon their legal rights.
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