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VLD wants 16-year-olds tried as adults

7 June 2007

BRUSSELS – The Flemish Liberals Open VLD plan to propose that the age of majority for criminal prosecution be set at 16 years. Minister for Home Affairs Patrick Dewael has announced this. The Open VLD also thinks the age limit for civil suits should also be lowered to 16.

Currently suspects under the age of 18 appear before the juvenile court. In exceptional circumstances the juvenile court may decide to hand over someone 16 years or older to the regular court system. But that is an exception and happens rarely. The lack of clear criteria for this decision can also pose problems to consistency.

Open Vld is now proposing that criminal suspects from the age of 16 be tried in the regular court system. The court would still be able to take into account the young person’s age and decide on a less severe sentence if appropriate. Patrick Dewael says that alternative sentences, community service and counselling could be options.

[Copyright Expatica News 2007]

Subject: Belgian news