R v SR [2020] NZYC 602

Published 13 October 2021

Pretrial — whether to transfer to District Court — sexual violation — age of young person — time of alleged offending — jurisdiction of Youth Court — Oranga Tamariki Act 1989, ss 2(2), 272(4A), 275(2)(aa) & sch 1A — Criminal Procedure Act 2011, s 138 — R v Ward [2018] NZHC 186 — New Zealand Police v GH [2020] NZYC 585. The young person had been charged in the Youth Court with sexual violation, a charge which he denied. He also faced three separate charges in the District Court to which he had pleaded not guilty. The prosecution sought a joinder for the charge he faced in the Youth Court so all charges could be dealt with in the District Court, pursuant to s 138 of the Criminal Procedure Act ("CPA"). Counsel for the young person submitted that there was no power to join the cases across the two jurisdictions. The Judge agreed with this submission, as the wording used in s 138 of a "not guilty" plea differed to the language of the Youth Court where a young person can formally deny a charge. The Judge noted the prosecution was essentially asking that the jurisdiction of the Youth Court be subsumed into the jurisdiction of the District Court of the purpose of the joinder, something disallowed by higher precedent. The intention of the Youth Court and the Oranga Tamariki Act was to provide a place for young people who had been charged with offences to be dealt with. The determinative age for the purposes of considering a transfer to the District Court was the age the young person at the time of the alleged offending. The young person had been charged at age 17 but the alleged offending occurred when he was 15 years old. The Judge determined that the matter must be dealt with in the Youth Court. Judgment Date: 20 November 2020. * * * Note: names have been changed to comply with legal requirements. * * *

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