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Crime minimum age raised to 12

The minimum age limit for criminal responsibility is to be increased from eight to 12 years, according to a Penal Code amendment to be introduced in Parliament soon.

Justice Ministry Secretary W.M.M.A. Adikari said it had been found that children Under 12 who were involved in criminal activity were not mature enough to realise the gravity of their crimes. Hence, the Government believed there should be a more holistic approach in dealing with juvenile offenders.

The proposed amendment specifies that any offence committed by a child less than 12 years of age would not be a crime.The amendment would also provide that in cases where the child is above 12 years and under 14 years, the magistrate would have the discretion to determine whether such child has the required degree of cognitive maturity to form the requisite intent or to entertain requisite knowledge of the offence.

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