(REALNEWS)Franz deFreitas, the United Progressive Party’s caretaker for St. John’s City South, is advising parents whose delinquent children are not being kept in a proper holding facility to file a class-action lawsuit.
Reports say that juveniles who have run afoul of the law are being housed at His Majesty’s Prison. This contravenes the provisions of the Child Justice Act, which stipulates that a child charged with a criminal offence shall be kept in a safe house or secure residential facility.
However, there is an exception: If the child is charged with murder or treason, then the Justice Board – which hears matters involving children – may detain the young offender in prison if he is deemed to pose a substantial risk of harming other children in the safe house or residential facility.
Since the Act has been passed, there has been no undertaking by the Government to construct a holding facility for the youth, as prescribed by the law – even as violence among this demographic is getting out of control.
Accordingly, deFreitas believes that a class-action lawsuit is the only mechanism by which the minister responsible will be forced to follow the law.
He notes that the legislation cannot be enacted on its own; hence, he says, somebody has to approach the Court in order to compel the Executive to act.
Unless a parent with locus standi opts to take this action – and causes the minister to do what the law says he is supposed to do –deFreitas says this situation will persist and worsen. He declares that the law was put in place for a reason and should be followed.
While the young offenders should be punished, many residents say that placing them with hardened adult criminals will serve only to compound an already troubling matter.