New Zealand Police v HX [2019] NZYC 548

Published 02 December 2019

Sentencing — aggravated robbery — Te Kooti Rangatahi — Rangatahi Court — Family Court crossover — Youth Court plan — care and protection concerns — welfare and best interests of young person — new legislation — Oranga Tamariki Act 1989, ss 4, 101, 282, 283 & 284 — United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) — United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) — General comment No. 24 (2019) on children’s rights in the child justice system. The young person appeared for sentencing in relation to a raft of charges (including aggravated robbery), as well as care and protection concerns. The Judge determined that sentencing would be adjourned to enable the young person to carry out a plan provided by his social worker. Under s 4 of the Oranga Tamariki Act (the Act), the four primary considerations in relation to youth justice issues are the wellbeing and best interests of the young person, the public interest (including public safety), interests of victims and the young person being held accountable for their behaviour. The Court is required to ensure any plan complies with the new provisions of the Act and that the decision-maker exercising any power under the Act must be guided by the principle that the well-being of the young person is at the centre of any decision; one consideration particularly was that the young person's rights under the UNCRC and UNCRPD were respected and upheld. Adjourning sentencing would allow the young person to participate in Te Kooti Rangatahi (the Rangatahi Court) but provide the safety that he could be returned to the Court for further sentencing should he fail to comply with the plan. This diversionary outcome gave the young person a better chance at rehabilitation, and complied with the principles of the Act and the guidelines provided. A plan prepared in the Family Court for the young person's care and protection concerns was also approved. This would provide support for the young person and his mother, until review following the young person's completion of their Youth Court plan in four months time. Judgment Date: 16 October 2019. * * * Note: names have been changed to comply with legal requirements. * * *