Custodian of a minor
Since criminal liability begins at the age of 15, a person under this age cannot be a suspect or defendant in a criminal matter. When a young person between 15 and 17 years of age is suspected of or charged with a criminal offence, the custodian of the person will be also summoned to the questioning and the trial.
There is no minimum age for being an injured party in a criminal offence. In certain cases, a minor injured party has the right to speak in a criminal matter, but in most cases his or her custodian has at least a parallel right to speak.
The custodian has the right to express his or her views, which is of value when consideration is being given to the sanction most appropriate for the young person, or when he or she is seeking compensation for loss or damage caused by an offence.
A child who is the victim of a crime requires his or her own representative in a pre-trial investigation and trial, where a conflict exists between the interests of the child and the parents. This is particularly necessary if the suspect is a member of the child’s own family. In such a case, a guardian appointed for the task, for example, can speak on behalf of a minor victim.