Page last updated at 15:33 GMT, Thursday, 28 June 2012 16:33 UK

Justice Committee

Justice Minister David Ford told MLAs he favoured raising the age of criminal responsibility from 10 years of age to 12, on 28 June 2012.

Mr Ford was briefing the justice committee on how he would bring forward the recommendations of the Youth Justice Review.

Committee chairman Paul Givan of the DUP said the minister had "lambasted quite a few people" for homing in on the question of the age of responsibility.

He wanted to know why Mr Ford kept bringing up the matter "when the prospect of it happening is so minimal".

The minister said the majority of people who had responded to the proposal were in favour of raising the age of criminal responsibility, and that the majority of cases at this age were already dealt with "largely through care" rather than the courts.

The DUP's Jim Wells spoke about "two awful words, Jamie Bulger".

He added that, "if I was a betting man I wouldn't put my shirt on it getting through".

Mr Ford said he accepted almost all of the 31 recommendations made by the review team in their entirety.

He said that from 1 November 2012 juveniles under 18 years of age would no longer be held in Hydebank Wood Young offenders Centre in all but the most exceptional circumstances.

The committee was briefed by department of justice (DOJ) officials on the principles of the Criminal Justice Bill.

The matters touched upon included human trafficking, sex offender notification, and the retention of DNA.

The final hearing of the day was a briefing on the Mental Capacity Bill from DOJ officials.

Gareth Johnston said the department was at the point of launching a public consultation for the proposed legislation, which would run into the autumn.

Justice committee membership


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