By Kristen Macklingam
An investigation has been launched into the matter where a 10-year-old boy was arrested and placed in the lockups at the Springlands Police Station, Berbice, but controversy continues to brew as to whether or not law enforcement officials have the authority to arrest a child of that age and place him before the Courts.
A senior Police source told INews that, according to the Laws of Guyana, a child – regardless of the crime which he/she may commit – can be arrested providing that the child is 10 years old and above.
“You see, according to the laws we operate by we can arrest any child above the age of 10 once he commits a crime. And in this case the boy was above 10 years old. So the officers at that station were acting according to how the law stipulates them to,” the Police source stated.
INews was told that with regards to the matter at hand, the young boy’s neighbour reported that he had stolen $24,000 from her.
As such, acting on this report the child was taken into police custody and it was until his mother arrived at the Springlands Police Station that they grilled him about the alleged theft.
“In the presence of his mother he said that he took the money and directed where he had hidden it. Police went with his mother to the area where the child said he hid the cash and discovered it in a salt bag. He had spent out about half the money already so ranks only recovered the other half of the total or so,” the man told this online publication.
Meanwhile, Commander of “B” Division Ian Amsterdam, when contacted this afternoon, declined to comment in detail about the incident as an investigation is presently on-going.
However, he confirmed that the young boy had hidden the money in his yard somewhere close to the toilet and when police officers along with his mother went to retrieve the cash they managed to recover less than $12,000.
Commander Amsterdam explained that to the best of his knowledge the child can be placed before the Court because he is almost 11-years-old and the law allows for this.
“I have the boy’s birth certificate in my possession and it says he will be 11 years in two months, in May, and I am not sure if the Magistrate had that document before he made such a decision but I have the certificate to prove it. The Magistrate instructed the Prosecutor to withdraw but it isn’t the Prosecutor’s place to do so. The fact is the neighbour who is the victim reported that this was not the first time the child did this and if this case is dropped then she will not receive any justice whereas she is the victim,” he added.