McArthur calls for Scottish Government U-turn on age of criminal responsibility

Speaking in advance of a ministerial statement from the Cabinet Secretary for Justice to Parliament on Thursday, Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP said that it is time the Government took action to right a wrong and raise the age of criminal responsibility in order to protect vulnerable children.

Scottish Liberal Democrats have been campaigning to raise the age of criminal responsibility from 8 to 12, in order to protect vulnerable children who are accused of criminal offences, and uphold their human rights. Raising the age of criminal responsibility to 12 brings it in line with the minimum age for criminal prosecution.

The work done by former Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Alison McInnes has been taken forward by Liam McArthur.

Speaking in advance of tomorrow’s statement, Mr McArthur said:

“We need to see a positive u-turn from the Scottish Government on this issue. For far too long they have allowed the most vulnerable children to be tainted with a criminal record for the rest of their lives. This is not how we ‘get it right for every child’.

“The SNP Government has repeatedly chosen to not take action to right this wrong. They had numerous opportunities to change the law, not least when they voted against our amendments twice in the previous Parliament. They refused to implement the recommendations of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, as well as the recommendations of their own Advisory Group.

“This failure by the SNP to act has let children down in Scotland.

“Scottish Liberal Democrats have been pressing the Scottish Government to change the law for years. Protecting children’s human rights is a duty which the Scottish Government has so far been totally complacent on. I hope this changes when the Cabinet Secretary makes the statement tomorrow.”

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