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07/15/2015 12:00:00 AM


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Reilly, James

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Bills

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Children (Amendment) Bill 2015 [Seanad]

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Report and Final Stages

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887

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Children (Amendment) Bill 2015 [Seanad]\Report and Final Stages
Bills\Children (Amendment) Bill 2015 [Seanad]\Report and Final Stages

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Children (Amendment) Bill 2015 [Seanad]

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Report and Final Stages

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Senator


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Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy James Reilly)

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Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy James Reilly)

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James Reilly

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Snippet Contents:

As Deputy Clare Daly pointed out, her amendment proposes to insert a new provision in section 88 of the existing Children Act which deals with the remand of children in custody. The effect of the proposed amendment would be to impose a maximum period of remand in custody for a child of three months from the date of being remanded in custody by the court. Section 88 of the Children Act allows a court to remand in custody a child who is charged with or found guilty of an offence, who is being sent forward for trial or in respect of whom the court has postponed a decision. The section in question also provides that a court shall not remand a child in custody if the only reason for so doing is that he or she is in need of care or protection or the court wishes Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, to assist it in dealing with the case. In addition, section 76B of the existing Act provides for the involvement of Tusla in such cases, as deemed necessary by a court.
As provided for in various District Court rules, a child may be remanded in custody in the Children Court for an initial period not exceeding eight days and subsequently for an individual period not exceeding 15 days. Children can be remanded in custody for successive periods within this framework, but they are brought back before the court at regular intervals, which is important to remember. It is not as if they are being placed on remand for three months.
While there is no legislation governing the length of remand periods in the Circuit Criminal Court for children, the right to an expeditious trial applies to every accused person, irrespective of age. Section 100 of the current Act provides that where a court is satisfied as to the guilt of a child, it may remand him or her in custody for the purpose of the preparation of any necessary report but not for longer than 28 days. This period may only be extended once by a maximum of 14 days.
It is also important to note that all children remanded in custody have, of course, access to independent legal advice. Children remanded in custody can apply to a court to be remanded on bail at any time and a refusal of bail can be appealed to the High Court in accordance with the Bail Act 1997.