Area of Law – Evidence

An Article about Doli incapax

Doli Incapax in criminal proceeding for a child
Doli incapax is the idea that a child 10 – 14 is not responsible for a criminal offence unless the Prosecution can prove they knew their behaviour was seriously wrong.

If a child is under 10 then they can not be charged for criminal offences. The age of criminal responsibility starts at 10 years old.

Generally these matters get sorted out by the provision of psychological or psychiatric reports prior to a contested hearing or trial.

Like most criminal cases whether you can successfully have the charges withdrawn on the basis of doli incapax will turn on the facts of your case.

Below is a reference to case law from the Victorian Court of Appeal:
“In case of person under the age of 14 but not under the age of 10 the Crown has to prove that they knew their conduct was seriously wrong.

It is a rebuttable presumption that can be rebutted sufficiently by the act or acts constituting the offence in conjunction with the age of the defendant. This was a sex case.

Some acts may be so serious, harmful or wrong as properly to establish requisite knowledge in the child; others may be less obviously serious, harmful or wrong or may be equivocal or may be insufficient.”

R v ALH (2003) 6 VR 276 , [2003] VSCA 129


Date: 01/09/2009