Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokeswoman Alison McInnes MSP has said her party’s calls to raise the age of criminal responsibility in Scotland to 12 have today been vindicated by an independent report to government recommending the same rise.
The final report by the Scottish Government’s Advisory Group on the Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility published today says Ministers should take early action to raise the age of criminal responsibility from eight to 12.
Ms McInnes has long campaigned for the rise, her most recent attempt to change the law being two separate amendments to the Criminal Justice Bill in September and December, both of which were voted down by the SNP.
Commenting on the report Ms McInnes said: “Scottish Liberal Democrats have long argued that the age of criminal responsibility should be raised to 12 and now SNP Ministers’ own advisory group has backed our calls.
“For years the SNP have sat on their hands and allowed children as young as eight to be criminalised. Many are now stuck with criminal records until they die, which ruins their life chances.
“The SNP rejected innumerable opportunities and attempts from Scottish Liberal Democrats to change the law. Only after the umpteenth time of asking and following international condemnation from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child they finally set up this group. And now they clearly hoped to sneak out this final report quietly.
“The SNP must now finally join us in committing to the raise immediately in the next session of parliament and start doing the right thing by Scotland’s children.”