Top youth judge hits at system

NZ Herald 16 Feb 07
New Zealand’s top Family Court judge says offenders who are now too young to be charged with crimes must be made more accountable for their actions. Judge Peter Boshier, who has been a judge since 1988, made the politically charged statement at a foster care conference in Hamilton yesterday, where he said he was shocked at what he saw happening in families now compared with what he saw 19 years ago.But under current law children under 14 cannot be charged with crimes other than murder and manslaughter. Family Court judges can only place them under the care of Child, Youth and Family Services (CYFS). “Twelve-year-olds, many of whom are committing quite heavy crimes, need to be more accountable than the present system is able to make them,” he said. “What concerns me about the present situation is that for every 12-year-old criminal there is a victim. It’s the victim I am more concerned about.