Ismael Gutiérrez – Legal English – LLM in International Legal Practice Youth crime and legal response
The murder of James Bulger is one of the most disturbing cases I have ever seen in my entirelife, even before becoming a lawyer. Not just because of the cruelty of the act itself, even more, the age of the murderers supposed for my a huge shock: two kids, ten years of age, who kidnapped,tortured and killed another two years old boy, just for fun. Who is responsible for this horrendous crime? In what refers to minors and their crime responsibilities, there are huge differences among theSpanish regulation and the British one. Here in Spain the Constitutional principle of defending the minor rights above all produced a specific crime regulation that avoids any kind of penalresponsibility for those less than 14 years old. There is a first segment of age, among 14 and 16 years old, where there are some sorts of consequences for those who committed any kind of crime. Above that, forthose among 16 and 18 years of age there are specific aggravating factors where the crime responsibility increases, approaching the numbers to the adult Criminal Law penalties. On the other hand, theEnglish youth crime prosecution is quite different to the Spanish one: those minors aged ten or over could be said to be criminally responsible and therefore, to be condemned. Under that age there is arebuttable presumption of “doli incapax”. As far as I do consider myself to be a “libertarian” in what refers to the crime regulation, the penal punishment of a “ten years old” boy for committing anoffence is completely out of my understanding. To believe that a young boy of that ages could appreciate an action as “seriously wrong” is a nonsense, not because of the age, because of the fact thatwith that age you are still forming yourself as a human being, and therefore you cannot be demanded to be responsible as you were fully aware about the consequences of your acts, whatever the...
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