Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokeswoman Alison McInnes MSP has today said that by voting against her amendment to raise the age of criminal responsibility in Scotland, the SNP is failing Scotland’s most vulnerable children.
Ms McInnes tabled her amendment to raise the age of criminal responsibility from eight to 12 years as part of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill which was debated by MSPs this afternoon.
The amendment, which would bring the age of criminal responsibility in line with the age of criminal prosecution, was backed by Labour and Independent MSPs.
During the debate Ms McInnes said:
“Scotland has the lowest age of criminal responsibility in Europe and my amendment would raise the age of criminal responsibility from eight to 12 years and bring it in to line with the age of criminal prosecution.
“To suggest children as young as eight can be deemed responsible for their actions is completely out of touch with our understanding of their capacity and maturity.
“Children can still receive convictions that require to be declared for decades or even the rest of their lives. How is curtailing their life chances in this way getting it right for every child?”
Following the SNP and Tory vote against the amendment Ms McInnes said:
"By voting against my amendment the SNP has acted in bad faith as the government promised the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child it would 'do the right thing' and increase the age of criminal responsibility in the life of this Parliament.
"They are picking and choosing which human rights to uphold which sends an appalling message. The fact the government isn't using the powers it has at Holyrood to prevent violations of international law undermines the bid to block the UK Government abolishing the Human Rights Act.
"The SNP has been in power for eight years now, they haven't been devoid of chances - only political will. I however will continue to campaign on raising the age of criminal responsibility and will not break my promise to deliver change in this country."