We could learn a lot from the Pakistanis about how to deal with young thugs.
In this country we have separate justice processes for under 17-year-olds. There’s a child offending process for 10- to 13-year-olds and the youth justice process for 14- to 16-year-olds.
Pakistan does not share our namby-pamby approach. Right now – according to a report in the Daily Mail – one Muhammad Mosa Khan has appeared in court accused of planning a murder, threatening police and interfering in state affairs.
He was charged along with other members of his family.
And this little toughie is…
Wait for it…
Nine months old.
Fair to say, the authorities seem to think this is going too far and are looking into the case.
According to the Daily Mail, the toddler is facing charges along with other family members following a raid by police to catch suspected gas thieves in Lahore.
It looks like he has been treated leniently, because he was granted bail and the case was adjourned until April 12.
Alf imagines the judges will get a bollocking from the public if the youngster commits further crimes while on bail.
He was treated leniently during the hearing, too, because images have emerged of the baby apparently appearing in court, clutching his bottle while sitting on his father’s lap.
Alf is damned sure he would not be allowed the comfort of sitting in the dock with his bottle, should have he find himself in the dock.
So what crimes (allegedly) have been committed?
A police report alleged the suspects tried to murder officers by throwing stones at them during the raid.
The report lodged a complaint against Muhammad Yassen’s whole family, which included his nine-month-old grandson, The Express Tribune reported.
But Pakistan has its share of namby-pamby citizens too, obviously, because sub-Inspector Kashif Ahmed reportedly has been suspended for registering the case against the child.
Once the case was registered, the kid’s fate was sealed.
The judge was unable to dismiss the case against the child because it was outside of his jurisdiction, The News International has reported.
Punjab’s Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif meanwhile has now intervened and ordered a report from the police’s Inspector General.
He also reportedly demanded ‘stern action’ against the officials responsible for bringing the case, according to The Nation.
The Minister for Human Rights and Minorities Affairs Khalil Tahir Sindhu is also said to have taken notice of the case.
Oh, and it seems the group who have been charged might have been protesting against a shortage of electricity in their area.
If they lived in this country we may suppose they would be have been protesting (unreasonably) against rising power bills.
Alf is bothered that the Pakistanis see the need to have human rights do-gooders getting in the way of things.
He knows only too well what they get up to in this country.
But at least they haven’t gone so soft that they have enacted anything like our outrageous Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act 1989 which sets out separate justice processes for children (aged 10 to 13) and youth (aged 14 to 16).
The separate systems are based on the premise that the vulnerability of younger people and their generally more immature judgement means that they ought to be treated differently from adult offenders. Our child offending and youth justice processes recognise that children and young people need to be held to account for their offending in a way that acknowledges their needs and vulnerability. The way child and youth offenders are dealt with varies depending on their age and the nature of their offending.
Tell that to the teachers or members of the public who have been terrorised by snotty-nosed brats over the years, knowing full well they can damned near get away with murder.
The big snag is that criminal responsibility here begins at age ten, although under the CYPF Act, prosecution of children aged 10 to 11 is limited to murder and manslaughter.
Police still have a range of options available to respond to offending by 10 to 13 year olds.
But it’s a range extending from pathetic to risible.
The Member for Eketahuna North is preparing a case for a study tour of Pakistan to see how we could toughen up.