Responding to the news that the Scottish Government will establish a new forum to consider if the age of criminal responsibility should be raised beyond 12, Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP, who has twice proposed amendments raising it to at least 14, commented:
“The SNP is asking Parliament to next week pass legislation everybody knows breaches international minimum standards. Asking an expert group to look at whether that should be corrected in future is morally bankrupt.
“It took 10 years to persuade the SNP to take a baby step. Nobody should believe they have any intention of legislating all over again.
“Ignoring the unprecedented interventions by the UN and Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, calling on Scotland to immediately go further, is nothing short of an international embarrassment.
“Instead of kicking another generation of children’s rights into the long grass, Parliament should back my amendments next week and raise the age of criminal responsibility to at least 14.
“It’s wrong that vulnerable children, whose mistakes can often be traced to circumstances outwith their control, can find themselves being punished for the rest of their lives.”