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Juvenile Court

DEFINITION

A Juvenile is an individual who has not attained the age of 18 years, and includes a child and a person who has attained the age of 14 years, but who has not attained the age of 18 years.

FUNCTION OF THE COURT

Juvenile Court deals with Juveniles who have been charged with a Criminal or a Traffic offence and Care Order applications from the Social Welfare Department.

SCOPE OF COURT

All Magistrate’s Courts in Fiji can sit as a Juvenile Court apart from Suva which has a separate registry and Court room for Juvenile matters.

All Magistrate’s must declare that the Court is sitting as a Juvenile Court once a Juvenile is brought before the Court .This is a closed court and only parents/guardian(s) are allowed in with Prosecution, representative from the Department of Social welfare, Counsel and such other persons as the Court may authorize to be present.

POWERS TO PROHIBIT PUBLICATION OF CERTAIN MATTERS

As Quoted from section 12 of the Juveniles Act Cap 57

12 – (1)In relation to any proceeding in any Court

a) no newspaper report or radio broadcast of the proceedings shall reveal the name, address or school, or include any particulars calculated to lead to the identification of any Juvenile either as being the person by or against or in respect of whom the proceedings are taken, or as being as a witness therein;

b) no picture shall be published in any manner as being, or including a picture of any Juvenile so concerned in the proceedings: provided that the court or the Minister may in any case, if satisfied that it is in the interest of Justice or of the public to do so, by order with dispense with the requirements of this subsection to such extent as may be specified in the order.

(2) Any person who publishes or broadcasts by radio any matter in contravention of the provisions of this section shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding one hundred dollars in respect of each offence.

YOUTH JUSTICE PROCEDURE

  • A parent or guardian must be present during the Police interview of a Juvenile person.
  • Police can only take fingerprint or photograph a child in lawful custody unless ordered by the Court.
  • Remand places of custody usually at the Suva Boys Center in Suva or Mahaffy Girl’s Home for all jurisdictions.
  • Presumption for bail – YES- unless charged for murder or any serious offence OR it becomes necessary to remove them from association with a desirable person OR release would defeat the ends of Justice.
  • Parents or guardians of the juvenile are to be present through-out the proceeding and also during the police interview as stated above.

PUNISHMENT OPTIONS

  • Discharge.
  • Order of fine/compensation or cost. (Parents or guardian are ordered by the Court to pay on behalf of the juvenile.)
  • Probation orders.
  • Order the parent/guardian of the offender to give security for the good behavior of the offender in a period of time.
  • A care order in respect of the offender.
  • Imprisonment term.

WHETHER ORDERS REPRESENT CONVICTIONS

Where a finding of “guilt” is entered, the order is recorded as the precedent history of the offender on his/her previous recorded conviction.

APPEAL PROCEDURES

Appeal from Magistrate’s Court to High Court and Court of Appeal. Extended jurisdiction matters are directly appealed to the Fiji Court of Appeal

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Media Release

Keynote Address by Chief Justice Anthony Gates
at the Opening of the Fiji Law Society's Convention
"Fundamentals of Private Practice" 25th September 2015,
Novotel, Suva

Click here to view/download the speech.