Tag Archives: lord dholakia

Navnit Dholakia: It’s time to raise the age of criminal responsibility

Today in the House of Lords, Lord Navnit Dholakia will have the Second Reading of his Private Member’s Bill which would raise the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 12. It would, he writes here, be an important step in the way we deal with children

Lord Dholakia
Lord Dholakia

AT present in England and Wales children are deemed to be criminally responsible from the age of 10. That’s the lowest in Europe. In Scotland children cannot be prosecuted below the age of 12. Outside the British Isles the age of criminal responsibility is invariably even higher. In France, Greece and Poland it is 13. In Germany, Spain and Italy 14. In the rest of Europe it ranges between 15 and 18.

The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child has repeatedly stated that our minimum age of criminal responsibility is not compatible with our obligations under international standards of juvenile justice and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Of course, taking 10- or 11-year-olds out of the criminal justice system would not mean doing nothing with children who offend. It would mean doing what other countries do with them, or what we do with delinquent nine-year-olds. In other words, it would mean dealing with the causes of these children’s offending through intervention by children’s services teams.

In the minority of cases where court proceedings are necessary, it would mean bringing children before family proceedings courts which can impose compulsory measures of supervision and care. In the most serious cases this can mean long-term detention in secure accommodation, but this would be arranged as part of care proceedings rather than as a custodial punishment imposed in criminal proceedings.

Those who oppose increasing the age of criminal responsibility often argue that children of 10 and 11 are capable of telling right from wrong, as though it automatically followed that they should therefore be dealt with in criminal courts. But this doesn’t logically follow at all. Most six-year-olds have a sense of right and wrong but no-one suggests they should be subject to criminal prosecution.

There is no other area of the law – whether it is the age for buying a pet, the age for paid employment, the age of consent to sexual activity or the age for smoking and drinking – where we regard children as fully competent to take informed decisions until later in adolescence.  The age of criminal responsibility is an anomalous exception.

My Bill is a simple proposition which would, if enacted, be an important step towards dealing with vulnerable, difficult and disturbed children in a way which befits a civilised society.

Published and promoted by Tim Gordon on behalf of the Liberal Democrats, both at LDHQ, 8-10 Great George Street, London, SW1P 3AE.

Lord Dholakia in Tanzania

Lord Dholakia
Lord Dholakia

Aside from vital by-election trips to Eastleigh, Lord Dholakia found time during last week’s Lords recess to visit Tanzania, the country of his birth, which he praised for not using the death penalty for the last 19 years.

The death sentence was last used in Tanzania in 1994. Lord Dholakia was there as part of a tour campaigning against capital punishment and met government officials, authorities and local media.

He told Tanzanian media: “I am happy to learn that though the death penalty is statutory here, it has not been implemented since 1994. This is commendable and appears to be a nice move and a sign of democratic maturity.

“I have come to learn what is happening in this part of the world and I am optimistic that there are efforts going on in the country. I am not here to dictate on what should be done because this is in the hands of the people to decide.”

Reports on Lord Dholakia’s visit can be seen at allAfrica.com and ippMedia.com.

 

Published and promoted by Tim Gordon on behalf of the Liberal Democrats, both at LDHQ, 8-10 Great George Street, London, SW1P 3AE.

Lord Dholakia’s week

ScanLord Dholakia has provided his diary of a week – one which took in the vote on postponing boundary changes until after the next election – for this week’s edition of The House magazine.

The week also took in the illicit trade in tobacco, concerns about the treatment of women on the Indian subcontinent and a water vole, white fan-tailed goose and swans. You can read it by clicking on the picture to the right.

 

Published and promoted by Tim Gordon on behalf of the Liberal Democrats, both at LDHQ, 8-10 Great George Street, London, SW1P 3AE.

Lib Dem Lord bids to increase age of criminal responsibility

Lord Dholakia
Lord Dholakia

A LIBERAL Democrat Lord has launched a parliamentary bid to increase the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 12.

Lord Dholakia has introduced a Private Member’s Bill in the House of Lords which would change the minimum age at which a child can be arrested or charged with a crime.

The Bill to raise the age of criminal responsibility received its first reading – a formality which signals the start of its journey through the Lords – yesterday.

Lord Dholakia said: “It is wrong to criminalise children at such a young age.

“In England and Wales children are deemed to be criminally responsible from the age of 10. This involves arrest, detention and prosecution.

“The present arrangement has been criticised by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and is not compatible with the UK’s obligations under the international standards of juvenile justice.”

The Bill, which would alter the Children and Young Persons Act 1933, will now go forward to its second reading – a general debate on all aspects of the Bill.

 

Published and promoted by Tim Gordon on behalf of the Liberal Democrats, both at LDHQ, 8-10 Great George Street, London, SW1P 3AE.

Lord Dholakia: Britain’s eighth most powerful Asian

GG2 Power 101

Congratulations to Lord Dholakia – the deputy leader of the Lib Dem peers has been named the eighth most powerful Asian in Britain in an annual ranking.

In the GG2 power 101 Lord Dholakia, who this year marked 50 years in public life, came in just one place below Shadow Justice Minister Sadiq Khan and two behind sculptor Anish Kapoor.

He was ahead of president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Suma Chakrabarti, High Court judge Rabinder Singh – and well ahead of luminaries such as Shami Chakrabarti, Salman Rushdie and even Adil Ray, aka Citizen Khan.  Warm congratulations from all the Lib Dem peers, and here’s to next year…

 

Published and promoted by Tim Gordon on behalf of the Liberal Democrats, both at LDHQ, 8-10 Great George Street, London, SW1P 3AE.

Peer post – Lord Dholakia on the Cardiff South and Penarth by-election

At the weekend Lib Dem deputy leader in the Lords Lord Dholakia travelled to the Welsh capital ahead of Thursday’s Cardiff South and Penarth by-election. Here he describes how voters have taken to our candidate there, Bablin Molik

Indian temple
Lord Dholakia and Bablin Molik at Cardiff’s Indian temple and cultural centre

DRIVING 400 miles for a return journey to Cardiff may seem excessive but it was worth it.

An early start at 5.00am and we were at the Cardiff office by 10am. We have in Bablin Molik an excellent candidate. She is well known in her local area and there she was ready with a list of electors she wanted us to visit.

Despite all the gloom and doom messages we often hear, it was remarkable how ordinary voters have taken to her. Quietly spoken but well briefed we were able to put lots of window posters and get support for her and the party.

In the afternoon I led a team of half a dozen activists and called on a good many voters despite Wales playing Argentina at the Millennium Stadium. The evening was spent in the company of a large gathering of worshipers at a Temple where both Bablin and I addressed them after the religious service.

We were treated to a sumptuous meal and with a promise of help from key members of the community; we left for Sussex reaching home in the early hours of Sunday morning. A day well spent.

 

Published and promoted by Tim Gordon on behalf of the Liberal Democrats, both at LDHQ, 8-10 Great George Street, London, SW1P 3AE.

Lord Dholakia in the Eastern Eye

Eastern Eye

This year marks 50 years in public life for Lord Dholakia, the Lib Dems’ deputy leader in the Lords. In the early 1960s, and not too long after arriving in the UK from Tanzania, he found himself in a pub in Brighton when he was approached by a small group of people. They were the local Liberal Party and needed one more body to make their meeting quorum. He never looked back and in 1962 was elected to Brighton Council for the first time.

His golden jubilee celebrations were held at the party’s conference this year, aptly in Brighton, with Nick Clegg and Vince Cable among those paying lavish tributes. And today’s Eastern Eye (on sale tomorrow outside London) features the above interview.

Published and promoted by Tim Gordon on behalf of the Liberal Democrats, both at LDHQ, 8-10 Great George Street, London, SW1P 3AE.