The Young Offenders Act 1993 (SA) sets out a three tiered system of juvenile justice.
- police caution, formal and informal [ss 6 and 7]
- family conference [ss 9-12]
When charges have been laid, the Youth Court hears and determines matters which are:
- disputed, however minor in nature
- the more serious offences, disputed or not
- alleged repeat offending
- breaches of undertakings given in the course of a formal police caution or family conference
- referrals to formal police caution or family conference where the matter could not be finalised because the youth has failed to attend as required
- breaches of obligations
- matters which the youth has requested the Court to deal with.
Within this structure the Youth Court has discretion to refer matters back to be dealt with by formal police caution or family conference where appropriate - for example, where the youth now admits allegations of minor or first offending which had previously been disputed or now agrees to attend diversionary proceedings despite prior failure to attend [see Young Offenders Act 1993 (SA) s 17(2)].
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