New law in St Vincent and the Grenadines bans prosecution of children under 12

The age of criminal responsibility in St Vincent and the Grenadines has been moved from 8 years-old to 12 years-old. This means that no child under the age of 12 can be prosecuted for an offence that he or she commits.

Minister of National Mobilisation Frederick Stephenson told parliament last week that ; “A child age 12 but under the age of 14 years shall be presumed not to have the capacity to appreciate the difference between right and wrong unless this is proved otherwise,”

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St Vincent and the Grenadine’s Minister of National Mobilisation Frederick Stephenson

The law also bans corporal punishment and a sentence of life imprisonment from being imposed on a child.

The Child Justice Act also notes that prosecution of a child age 12 but less than 14 years old must be on the basis of certification of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP).

It also applies to any person who turns 18 before the proceedings that had been instituted are concluded.

He said that the law also applies to persons over 18 but under 21, on the direction of the DPP in special circumstances.