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Suva Courthouse

Youth Offenders

  • Under section 26 of the Crimes Act 2009 a child under the age of 10 years cannot be prosecuted for any offence.
  • Under section 27 of the Crimes Act 2009, a child between the age of 10 and 13 years of age can be prosecuted for an offence if the Prosecution can prove that at the time the child did the act, he or she knew that it was wrong or if the Prosecution can prove that when the child did not do what he or she ought to have done, the child knew the difference between right and wrong.
  • Any child between the ages of  12 and  17 years can be prosecuted under any provision of any Act currently in force in Fiji. However, because of their age the law may accord them some protection.

Restrictions on Punishments of Juveniles

  • Juvenile offenders are not generally imprisoned. Should detention be required they are sent to an approved institution such as the Nasinu Boys Centre or Nasinu Girls Home.
  • Under section 30 of the Juveniles Act no child under the age of 14 years can be imprisoned for any offence. If the offender is between 14 and 17 years of age he or she can not be imprisoned unless a court certifies that the juvenile is either too unruly (unmanageable) or depraved (wicked or immoral) to be detained in an approved institution.

Who can be arrested

  • Children under 10 years of age cannot be arrested for the commission of any offence as they cannot be the subject of prosecution.
  • Juveniles 10 years and over but not yet 17 years of age can be arrested. Juveniles that have reached the age of 17 years will be considered an adult and will be treated as such, although in some circumstances their young age will be taken into account as a mitigating factor.

Rights of Arrested Juveniles

  • A young person is not required to answer any questions asked of them whilst in the Police Station unless his or her parent or lawyer are present in the room. However, a young person may waive this right and allow the Police to question them without adult supervision.
  • Section 25 of the Juveniles Act states that “The Police shall not take fingerprints or photographs of a child (under 14 years of age) while in lawful custody except by order of a Magistrate”.