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The Republic v. Utimawa Rineta

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Court/Judicial body:  High Court of Kiribati, Criminal Jurisdiction
Date:  20 November 2006 CRC
Provisions:  Article 3: Best interests of the child

Case summary

Background: The Court found Rineta, a 17-year-old first-time offender, guilty of house-breaking and larceny after breaking into a store and stealing a cash box, and had to determine Rineta’s sentence.

Issue and resolution: Sentencing of a 17-year-old first-time offender. The court sentenced Rineta to six month for the house-breaking and three months for larceny to be served concurrently, however, the Court suspended the sentences so long as Rineta did not commit any other offense for two years.

Court reasoning: Rineta’s age, and the fact that this was his first offense and his mother made payments for the stolen money and damage to the store owner’s property, contributed to the court’s decision to suspend his sentence so long as he did not commit any other offense for the next two years.
Excerpt citing CRC and other relevant human rights Mr Amten [counsel for the accused] has referred to the Convention on the Rights of the Child which provides that in sentencing someone of your age, your best interests must be a primary consideration.

CRIN comments:  CRIN believes this decision is consistent with the CRC. The best interests of the child principle in Article 3 CRC applies in the determination of any question affecting the child, including sentencing of juvenile offenders. Additionally, Article 40 of the Convention requires that any child recognised to have infringed penal law to be treated in a manner consistent with the promotion of the child’s sense of dignity and worth, which reinforces the child’s respect for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of others and which takes into account the child’s age and the desirability of promoting the child’s reintegration and the child’s assuming a constructive role in society.

Citation:  [2006] KIHC 127

Link to full judgement: