Rights and Position of a Juvenile Accused PDF Print E-mail

 

Proceeding in criminal cases of juvenile offenders is governed by the Act no. 218/2003 Coll., the Juvenile Justice Act. The Act is designed in a way that it defines the differences between the special legal regulation of liability for offences committed by juveniles in relation to the general regulation provided in Criminal Law statutes and associated legal enactments.

 

A juvenile is a person, who in time of committing the transgression reached fifteenth year of age, but has not attained eighteenth year of age.

 

Criminal offense committed by a juvenile is called a transgression.

 

Proceedings in criminal cases of juveniles are characterized in particular by the following divergences:

 

Juvenile courts

Justice in juvenile cases and cases dealing with act otherwise criminal committed by children under the age of fifteen is executed by juvenile courts.

 

Specific approach in hearing criminal cases of juveniles

In proceedings conducted on criminal cases of juveniles the authorities involved in criminal proceedings must proceed with regard to the age, heath condition, intellectual and moral maturity of the person, against whom the proceeding is being conducted, in order to affect his further development as little as possible, while ensuring that the tried actions and consequences thereof and circumstances that facilitated them were duly clarified and the commission of the act was subject to criminal liability according to the law.

When dealing with juveniles the authorities involved in criminal proceedings must proceed with regard to their age and intellectual and moral maturity so that their psyche was not disturbed and that their further mental and social development was not affected, with respect to their age.

 

Specialization of authorities involved in criminal proceedings and other persons

Judges, public prosecutors, members of police authorities and officers of the Probation and Mediation Service involved in criminal matters of juveniles must have sufficient practical experience and special training for dealing with juveniles.

 

Cooperation with the authorities of social and legal protection of children, with special-interest citizen groups, with persons implementing probation programs and with the Probation and Mediation Service

 

Local jurisdiction

The proceedings are conducted by juvenile court, in the jurisdiction of which the juvenile lives, and if he does not have a permanent residence, the place where he stays or works. If no such place can be ascertained if such places are outside the territory of the Czech Republic, the proceeding will be conducted by the juvenile court, in jurisdiction of which the transgression was committed; if such place cannot be ascertained, the proceeding will be conducted by the juvenile court, in the jurisdiction of which the act became apparent.

 

Joint proceedings

All transgressions of a juvenile offender and against all juvenile offenders, whose transgressions are connected, will be tried in a joint proceeding. Only in exceptional cases may the court conduct a joint proceeding against a juvenile and adult offender, if it is necessary for all-around and objective clarification of the case and it is not to the detriment of the juvenile. Such joint proceeding will be conducted by a juvenile court, and as far as the juvenile offender is concerned, the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act will be applied in such joint proceedings.

 

Right of juveniles to defense

Juvenile offenders are entitled to be treated according to their age, mental maturity and health condition.

 

The juvenile must be represented by a defense counsel from the moment the measures provided for in the Juvenile Justice Act are applied against him or from the moment actions stipulated by the Code of Criminal Procedures are carried out, including urgent and unrepeatable actions, unless execution of the action cannot be delayed and notification of the defense counsel cannot be secured (mandatory defense). Juveniles must be represented by a defense counsel also in case they expressly refuse to be represented.

 

Authorities involved in proceedings according to the Juvenile Justice Act are obliged to always advise juveniles on their rights and provide them with an opportunity to fully exercise them.

 

Protection of privacy of juveniles and publicity of proceedings

Special interest on the protection of privacy and personality of juveniles justifies favoring confidentiality of information regarding their transgression over constitutionally protected principle of publicity of criminal proceedings, with regard to limiting the adverse effects of the proceedings on the juvenile, and on the grounds of the constitutional principle of presumption of innocence.

 

Until the criminal prosecution is finally and effectively concluded, the authorities involved in the proceedings according to this Act publish only such information on the proceedings conducted against the juvenile, which would not impede reaching the purpose of criminal proceedings and which are not contrary to the requirement of protecting the personality and personal data of the juvenile, as well as of other persons participating in the proceedings.

 

In general it is prohibited to publish information in any way (in public media or otherwise) before the final and effective decision is made, which would state the name and surname of the juvenile or information containing data that would enable identification of the juvenile, unless the law stipulates otherwise. Publishing is understood as such that is capable of making the contents of the information accessible to a larger number of persons.

 

Publishing information on the course of main trial and public session resulting in identification of the juvenile in public media or otherwise is prohibited. The same applies to publishing any texts or pictures related to the identity of the juvenile.

 

Judgment is announced in public in the main trial in the presence of the juvenile. A final and effective judgment may be published in public media only without stating the name and surname of the juvenile, while offering reasonable protection to the juvenile from undesirable effects of its publishing.

 

The presiding judge may decide on another form of publishing the condemning judgment with regard to the nature and type of the transgression and reasonable protection of interests of the juvenile. He may also make the conditions of publishing the judgment in public media more strict (i.e. restrict the range of information) or even mitigate the conditions (e.g. allow publishing of the judgment in public media with the name and surname or other personal data of the juvenile).

 

Custody of juveniles

In case of juveniles, custody is an extraordinary custodial instrument. The statutory regulation in the Juvenile Justice Act is based on the premise that custody of juveniles may be substituted by guarantee, supervision, promise or placing the juvenile in the care of a trustworthy person. Custody of juveniles may also be substituted by financial guarantee.

 

The maximum duration of custody in pre-trial proceedings in case of the least serious transgressions is four months. In trial proceedings dealing with these types of transgressions the custody may be extended by two more months, meaning that the aggregate maximum permissible duration of custody is six months.

 

The maximum duration of custody in pre-trial proceedings in case of especially serious transgressions is one year. In trial proceedings dealing with these types of transgressions the custody may be extended by six more months, meaning that the aggregate maximum permissible duration of custody is eighteen months.

 

Statutory representative of juveniles

Statutory representative of a juvenile is entitled to represent him, in particular to choose a defense counsel for him, to make proposals and apply remedial measures on his behalf; he is also entitled to participate in such actions in of criminal proceedings, which can be attended by the juvenile according to the law. The statutory representative may exercise these rights on behalf of the juvenile even against his will. In cases where the statutory representative cannot exercise his rights and there is a danger of delay, the presiding judge and in pre-trial proceedings the public prosecutor will appoint a guardian to the juvenile in order to exercise these rights.

 

 
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