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Youth Courts are retaining jurisdiction in ever more serious cases.The orthodox view is that Youth Courts are the right venue for under-18s. The 2017 Youth Sentencing Guideline states that ’young people should be tried in the Youth Court’ as it is ’best designed to meet their specific needs’. It now seems that unless there is a statutory bar to a Youth Court trial, as in homicide, then summary trial it will be. As a youth justice solicitor I think this is unfair.
The latest quarterly MoJ figures show that 98% of defendants facing summary trial are convicted, compared with 81% who are tried by juries. The right to jury trial is the backbone of our criminal justice system. Adults choose or are sent to the Crown Court in either way or indictable cases. Under-18s have no choice and even in rape cases. it is now usual for them to have a Youth Court trial.
Read the full article on the Law Gazette website.
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