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Presentation at Skrine – The Child and Youth Justice System in Malaysia

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Skrine Presentation

On 19 December 2013, VoC was honoured again to be invited to the office of Messrs Skrine for a presentation by lawyers Janice Tay and Angela Yap, this time entitled “Justice for the Young and Dangerous”. The in-house presentation was conducted to inform and raise awareness of their fellow lawyers on the Child & Youth Justice within the Malaysian Legal System. Present also was Dr. Farah Nini Dusuki, a senior lecturer from the Faculty of Law, University Malaya.

Janice and Angela who attended VoC’s 2-day April training, vivaciously and successfully summarised what they had learned on Child & Youth Justice within the Malaysian Legal System, a legal training conducted by Dr. Farah Nini Dusuki and VoC, and presented their understanding of the Juvenile Justice System, Legal Instruments relating to Children, Arrest and Investigation, Pre- Trial Disposal and Court Proceedings, Diversion and Restorative Justice, and Sentencing to the audience in an interactive and engaging session.

Although the presentation was titled Justice for the Young and Dangerous, the speakers were trying to evidence how many of the young offenders were not dangerous as such and lacked the necessary mens rea of criminal intention to commit the crimes they were charged for. Strongly emphasizing on diversion (diverting or sending the child away from the formal justice system to an alternative community based process for resolving the wrongdoing) and restorative justice (repairing harm to the victim , the offender and the community),  Janice gave examples of some cases such as,  PP v Azmadi [2012] MLJU 16, PP v KM (A Child) & Anor [2010] 9 CLJ 605, PP v Lim Hang Seoh [1978] 1 MLJ 68 and MHMK & Ors v PP [2009] 4 MLJ 305, where all the child offenders were either detained at Henry Gurney or imprisoned.  In some of these crimes were committed out of passion as opposed to premeditation.

It was manifestly clear that the mind-set among the lawyers at the presentation was that sentences for criminal acts, even those committed by children should be punitive in nature.  This is an indication that there is not enough awareness on the diversion and restorative justice and the successes of these alternatives in the justice system in other countries.

Janice and Angela highlighted that the treatment and reintegration of children back into society should be the primary goals of the child justice system, as opposed to punishment. They also emphasized that detention should always be the last resort.  To achieve this diversion and restorative justice are the way forward.

VoC thanks Janice Tay, Angela Yap and the lawyers at Skrine for their continued support for child justice.

 

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