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YOUTHS AT THE POLICE STATION
Under 18s are entitled to free legal advice and must have an appropriate adult present (not necessarily a parent) if they are interviewed by a police officer either at home or at a police station. Free legal advice is available whether or not the youth is under arrest. Increasingly, police are inviting under-18s into the police station to be interviewed by appointment. This does not mean that the police view the matter as less serious than if the youth were under arrest. it is just a convenient way for police to organise an interview. Police should use custody as a last resort. A parent or person with parental responsibility should be informed if a youth is detained. Call us to obtain legal advice. We can attend 24/7.
The police have various options for how they deal with youths they believe to have committed a crime. The principals of the youth justice system differ from that for adults in that there is a duty to consider the welfare of the child and the principal aim is to prevent reoffending, not to punish. More and more youths are being diverted away from the courts and many receive cautions. It is really important to obtain legal advice for any attendance at the police station as decisions made at this stage can have an impact on how the case proceeds. A criminal record can have a lifelong impact on a youth.
Many youths in the criminal justice system have diagnosed and undiagnosed learning difficulties. We have experience of protecting the rights of these youths and work closely with a number of intermediaries, psychiatrists and educational psychologists. If necessary we can obtain funding to instruct these experts. We aim to ensure that the authorities are aware of the particular vulnerabilities of the youth they are dealing with and that these are taken in to consideration when dealing with their case. Being at a police station or in the courts can be a challenging experience for the most hardened adults and must be terrifying for a vulnerable youth. In some cases we will make representations on behalf of the youth for the matters to be dealt with outside of the court system. If the youth disputes the allegation or they have a legal defence we will prepare their case and represent them at trial. We have experience of making legal applications to prevent trials proceeding. If a youth is sentenced in the Youth Court or at the Crown Court we have experience of working alongside the Youth Offending Service and other outside agencies to see if we can present to the court the best sentencing options.
Most youth cases will be entitled to Legal Aid so representation is free. If a youth is charged with a criminal offence they will usually have their first appearance at the Youth Court. Most youths will have all their court hearings in this court. It is only the most serious cases, such as homicide, and where a youth is jointly charged with an adult that a youth will appear in “adult” courts. The Youth Court is set up to be less intimidating and the magistrates and district judges have specialist training to deal with the young. The law relating to how youths are tried and sentenced differs to adults. It is important that a youth is represented by a solicitor with knowledge of the differences. Please call us so that we can meet beforehand or discuss the case if you wish.
CROWN COURT AND APPEAL
In some cases a youth will be tried in the Crown Court. This could be because they are jointly charged with an adult or that the allegation is so serious that the Youth Court have sent it for trial. A youth also has a right of appeal to the Crown Court from the Youth Court. We have experience of representing youths in the Crown Court. A youth will be entitled to Legal Aid for representation by a solicitor and barrister. Contact us to speak to a solicitor to discuss the case.
Tildens is a trading name of Tildens Ltd. | Authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. SRA NO: 633830 | Terms and Conditions
Director: Sarah Smith. Registered in England and Wales | Company Number: 10334130 Registered Office: 95, Ditchling Road, Brighton, BN1 4ST