Chapter 10:03 - Juvenile Offenders

Link to law: http://legalaffairs.gov.gy/information/laws-of-guyana/471-chapter-1003-juvenile-offenders/file

L.R.O. 1/2012
LAWS OF GUYANA
JUVENILE OFFENDERS ACT
CHAPTER 10:03
Act
11 of 1931
Amended by
4 of 1944
15 of 1952 4 of 1972
18 of 2007 20 of 2010
Current Authorised Pages
Pages
(inclusive)
Authorised
by L.R.O.
1 – 22 ... 1/2012
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Note
on
Subsidiary Legislation
This Chapter contains no subsidiary legislation.
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CHAPTER 10:03
ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS
SECTION
1. Short title.
2. Interpretation.
3. Child under ten years.
4. Juvenile courts.
5. Bail of children and young persons arrested.
6. Custody of children and young persons not discharged on bail after
arrest.
7. Association with adults during detention in police stations.
8. Remand or committal to custody in place of detention.
9. Procedure in juvenile court.
10. Probation orders.
11. Attendance at court of parent of child or young person charged with
an offence, etc.
12. Power to order parent to pay fine, etc., instead of child or young
person.
13. Exemption from imprisonment.
14. Mode of dealing with juvenile found guilty.
15. Detention in case of certain crimes committed by children or young
persons.
16. Committing child or young person to place of detention.
17. Children liable to be committed to care of relative, etc.
18. Persons under 17 charged with certain offences liable to be
committed to care of institution.
19. Methods of dealing with children and young persons charged with
offences.
20. Provision of places of detention.
20A. Holding Centre for Juveniles.
21. Provisions as to custody of children and young persons in places of
detention.
22. Expenses of maintenance of child or young person.
23. Presumption and determination of age.
24. Power to make regulations.
25. Saving.
JUVENILE OFFENDERS ACT
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__________________________
1953 Ed.
c. 41 _______________________________________________________
11 of 1931
An Act to make provision for proceedings in reference to
Juvenile Offenders.
[31ST DECEMBER, 1931]
Short title.

Interpretation.
[4 of 1972
18 of 2007]

1. This Act may be cited as the Juvenile Offenders Act.
2. In this Act—
“child” means a person under the age of fourteen years;
“guardian” in relation to a child or young person includes
any person who, in the opinion of the court having
cognizance of any case in relation to the child or young
person or in which the child or young person is
concerned, has for the time being the charge of or control
over the child or young person;
“Holding Centre for Juveniles” means a centre for juveniles
established or recognized by the Minister under section
20A;
“juvenile” means a person under the age of seventeen years;
“probation officer” means a public officer whose duties
include the performance of the functions of a probation
officer under this Act;
“young person” means a person who has attained the age of
fourteen years and is under the age of seventeen years.
CHAPTER 10:03
JUVENILE OFFENDERS ACT
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Child under ten
years.
[4 of 1972]
Juvenile courts.
[4 of 1972]

3. It shall be conclusively presumed that no child
under the age of ten years can be guilty of an offence.
4. (1) A court when hearing charges against children
or young persons shall, unless the child or young person is
charged jointly with any other person not being a child or
young person, sit either in a different building or room from
that in which the ordinary sittings of the court are held, or on
different days or at different times from those at which the
ordinary sittings are held and a court so sitting is in this Act
referred to as a juvenile court.
(2) Where in the course of any proceedings in a
juvenile court it appears to the court that the person charged
or to whom the proceedings relate is of the age of seventeen
years or upwards, or where in the course of any proceedings
in any court other than a juvenile court it appears that the
person charged or to whom the proceedings relate is under
the age of seventeen years, nothing in this section shall be
construed as preventing the court if it thinks it undesirable to
adjourn the case, from proceeding with the hearing and
determination of the case.
(3) Provision shall be made for preventing persons
apparently under the age of seventeen years whilst being
conveyed to or from court, or whilst waiting before or after
their attendance in court, from association with adults
charged with or convicted of any offence other than an
offence with which the person apparently under the age of
seventeen years is jointly charged or convicted.
(4) In a juvenile court no person other than the
members and officers of the court and the parties to the case,
their solicitors and counsel, and other persons directly
concerned in the case, shall, except by leave of the court, be
allowed to attend:
Provided that—
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Bail of children
and young
persons
arrested.
[4 of 1972]

newspaper or news agency shall not
be excluded, except by special order
of the court;
(b) no person shall publish the name,
address, school, photograph, or
anything likely to lead to the
identification of the child or young
person before the juvenile court, save
with the permission of the court or in
so far as required by this Act. Any
person who acts in contravention of
this paragraph of this proviso shall be
liable to a fine of nine thousand seven
hundred and fifty dollars.
5. Where a person apparently under the age of
seventeen years is apprehended with or without warrant and
cannot be brought forthwith before a court, the officer or non-
commissioned officer of police to whom such person is
brought shall inquire into the case, and may in any case,
and—
(a) unless the charge is one of homicide
or other grave crime; or
(b) unless it is necessary in the interest of
such person to remove him from the
association with any undesirable
person; or
(c) unless the officer has reason to believe
that the release of such person would
defeat the ends of justice,
shall release such person on a recognizance, with or without
(a) bona fide representatives of a
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Custody of
children and
young persons
not discharged
on bail after
arrest.
[4 of 1972
18 of 2007]

Association
with adults
during
detention in
police stations.
Remand or
committal to
custody in
place of
detention.
[18 of 2007]
sureties, for such amount as will, in the opinion of the officer,
secure the attendance of such person upon the hearing of the
charge, being entered into by him or by his parent or
guardian, or other responsible person.
6. Where a person apparently under the age of
seventeen years having been apprehended is not so released
as aforesaid, the officer or non-commissioned officer of police
to whom such person is brought shall cause him to be
detained in a Holding Centre for Juveniles provided under
this Act until he can be brought before a court unless the
officer certifies—
(a) that it is impracticable to do so; or
(b) that he is of so unruly or depraved a
character that he cannot be safely so
detained; or
(c) that by reason of his state of health or
of his mental or bodily condition it is
inadvisable so to detain him;
and the certificate shall be produced to the court before which
the person is brought.
7. It shall be the duty of the Commissioner of Police to
make arrangements for preventing, so far as practicable, a
child or young person while being detained, from associating
with an adult, other than a relative, charged with an offence.
8. (1) A court on remanding or committing for trial a
child or young person who is not released on bail, shall,
instead of committing him to prison, commit him to custody
in a Holding Centre for Juveniles provided under this Act and
named in the commitment, to be there detained for the period
for which he is remanded or until he is thence delivered in
due course of law:
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Procedure in
juvenile court.
[4 of 1972
18 of 2007]

Provided that in the case of a young person it shall not be
obligatory on the court so to commit him if the court certifies
that he is of so unruly a character that he cannot be safely so
committed, or that he is of so depraved a character that he is
not a fit person to be so detained.
(2) A commitment under this section may be
varied or, in the case of a young person who proves to be of
so unruly a character that he cannot be safely detained in such
custody, or to be of so depraved a character that he is not a fit
person to be so detained, revoked by any court acting in or for
the place in or for which the court which made the order
acted, and if it is revoked the young person may be
committed to prison.
9. (1) Where a child or young person is brought before
a juvenile court for any offence it shall be the duty of the court
as soon as possible to explain to him in simple language the
substance of the alleged offence.
(2) Where a child is brought before a juvenile court
for any offence other than homicide the case shall be finally
disposed of in such court, and it shall not be necessary to ask
the parent whether he consents that the child shall be dealt
with in the juvenile court.
(3) Where a young person is brought before a
juvenile court for an indictable offence other than homicide
and the court becomes satisfied at any time during the
hearing of the case that it is expedient to deal with it
summarily, the court shall put to the young person the
following or a similar question, telling him that he may
consult his parent or guardian before replying—
“Do you wish to be tried by this court or by a jury?”
and the court shall explain to the young person and to his
parent or guardian the meaning of being so tried and the
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place where the trial would be held.
(4) After explaining the substance of the alleged
offence the court shall ask the child or the young person
(except in cases where the young person does not wish to be
tried in the juvenile court) whether he admits the offence.
(5) If the child or young person does not admit the
offence the court shall then hear the evidence of the witnesses
in support thereof. At the close of the evidence in chief of each
such witness the court shall ask the child or young person, or
if it see fit, the child’s parent or guardian if he wishes to put
any questions to the witness.
If the child or young person instead of asking questions
wishes to make a statement he shall be allowed to do so. It
shall be the duty of the court to put to the witnesses such
questions as appear to be necessary. The court may put to the
child or young person such questions as may be necessary to
explain anything in the statement of the child or young
person.
(6) If it appears to the court that a prima facie case is
made out, the evidence of any witnesses for the defence shall
be heard, and the child or young person shall be allowed to
give evidence or to make any statement.
(7) If the child or young person admits the offence
or the court is satisfied that it is proved, he shall then be asked
if he desires to say anything in extenuation or mitigation of
the penalty or otherwise. Before deciding how to deal with
him the court shall obtain such information as to his general
conduct, home surroundings, school record, and medical
history, as may enable it to deal with the case in the best
interests of the child or young person, and may put to him
any question arising out of such information. For the purpose
of obtaining such information or for special medical
examination or observation the court may from time to time
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Probation
orders.
[4 of 1972]
c. 11:04
remand the child or young person on bail or to a Holding
Centre for Juveniles.
(8) If the child or young person admits the offence
or the court is satisfied that it is proved, and the court decides
that a remand is necessary for purposes of inquiry or
observation, the court may cause an entry to be made in the
court register that the charge is proved and that the child or
young person has been remanded. The court before which a
child or young person so remanded is brought may without
further proof of the commission of the offence make any
order in respect of the child or young person which could
have been made by the court which so remanded the child or
young person.
10. (1) Where a child or young person is charged with
any offence other than homicide and the court is satisfied that
the charge is proved, the court may make an order
discharging the offender conditionally on his entering into a
recognizance with or without sureties, to be of good
behaviour and to appear for sentence when called upon at
any time during such period, not exceeding three years, as
may be specified in the order. A recognizance entered into
under this section shall, if the court so order, contain a
condition that the offender be under the supervision of such
person as may be named in the order during the period
specified in the order and such other conditions for securing
such supervision as may be specified in the order, and an
order requiring the insertion of such conditions as aforesaid
in the recognizance is in this Act referred to as a probation
order.
(2) A probation order made under this section shall
have the same force and effect as a probation order made
under the authority of the Probation Act and the said Act
shall apply in all respects to a probation order under this Act
subject to the following modifications in section 8 (which
deals with the procedure where an offender fails to observe
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Attendance at
court of parent
of child or
young person
charged with
an offence, etc.
[4 of 1972]
Power to order
parent to pay
fine, etc.,
instead of child
or young
person.
[4 of 1972]
the conditions of release):
(a) Subsection (4) shall have no
application, and
(b) Subsection (5) shall have effect as here
set out:
“(5) A court before which a person is bound
by his recognizance to appear for sentence
on being satisfied that he has failed to
observe any condition of his recognizance,
may forthwith, without any further proof of
his guilt, deal with him as for the original
offence.”
11. Where a child or young person is charged with
any offence, the court may in its discretion require the
attendance of his parent or guardian and may make such
orders as are necessary for the purpose.
12. (1) Where a child or young person is charged
before any court with any offence for the commission of
which a fine, damages or costs may be imposed, and the court
is of opinion that the case would be best met by the
imposition of a fine, damages, or costs, whether with or
without any other punishment, the court shall order that the
fine, or the damages or costs awarded, be paid by the parent
or guardian of the child or young person instead of by the
child or young person, unless the court is satisfied that the
parent or guardian cannot be found or that he has not
conduced to the commission of the offence by neglecting to
exercise due care of the child or young person.
(2) Where a child or young person is charged with
any offence, the court may order his parent or guardian to
give security for his good behaviour.
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Exemption
from
imprisonment.
[4 of 1972]
Mode of
dealing with
juvenile found
guilty.
[4 of 1972]
Detention in
case of certain
crimes
committed by
children or
(3) Where a court thinks that a charge against a
child or young person is proved, the court may make an order
on the parent or guardian under this section for the payment
of damages or costs or requiring him to give security for good
behaviour, without proceeding to the conviction of the child
or young person.
(4) An order under this section may be made
against a parent or guardian who, having been required to
attend, has failed to do so, but, save as aforesaid, no such
order shall be made without giving the parent or guardian an
opportunity of being heard.
(5) Any sums imposed and ordered to be paid by a
parent or guardian under this section, or on forfeiture of any
such security as aforesaid, may be recovered from him by
distress or imprisonment in like manner as if the order had
been made on the conviction of the parent or guardian of the
offence with which the child or young person was charged.
(6) A parent or guardian may appeal against an
order made by a juvenile court under this section to the Full
Court of the High Court.
13. No child or young person shall be sentenced to
imprisonment.
14. Where a juvenile is found guilty of an offence
under any law, the court shall not proceed to a conviction, but
may deal with the offender in accordance with this Act.

15. Notwithstanding anything in this Act to the
contrary, where a child or young person is found guilty, or
enters a plea of guilty to a charge of an attempt to murder, or
of manslaughter, or of wounding with intent to cause
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young persons.
[4 of 1972]


Committing
child or young
person to place
of detention.
[4 of 1972
18 of 2007]


Children liable
to be
committed to
care of relative,
etc.
[4 of 1972]

grievous bodily harm, the court may sentence the offender to
be detained for such period as may be specified in the
sentence; and where such a sentence is passed the child or
young person shall, during that period, notwithstanding
anything in the other provisions of this Act, be liable to be
detained in such place and on such conditions as the Minister
may direct, and whilst so detained shall be deemed to be in
legal custody.
16. Where a child or young person is found guilty, or
enters a plea of guilty to a charge, of an offence punishable, in
the case of an adult, with imprisonment, or would, if he were
an adult, be liable to be imprisoned in default of payment of
any fine, damage, or costs, and the court considers that none
of the other methods in which the case may legally be dealt
with is suitable, the court may order that he be committed to
custody in a school for young offenders or a Holding Centre
for Juveniles for a period not exceeding one year.
17. (1) Any person may bring before a juvenile court
any person apparently under the age of seventeen years
who—
(a) is found begging or receiving alms
(whether or not there is any presence
of singing, playing, performing,
offering anything for sale or
otherwise), or being in any street,
premises, or place for the purpose of
so begging or receiving alms; or
(b) is found wandering and not having
any home or settled place of abode, or
visible means of subsistence, or is
found wandering and having no
parent or guardian, or a parent or
guardian who does not exercise
proper guardianship, or is in need of
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c. 8:01
care and protection; or
(c) is found destitute, not being an
orphan and having both parents or
his surviving parent, or in the case of
an illegitimate child his mother,
undergoing imprisonment; or
(d) is under the care of a parent or
guardian who, by reason of criminal
or drunken habits, is unfit to have the
care of the child; or
(e) is the daughter, whether legitimate or
illegitimate, of a father who has been
convicted of an offence under section
66 of the Criminal Law (Offences) Act
in respect of any of his daughters,
whether legitimate or illegitimate; or
(f) frequents the company of any reputed
thief, or common or reputed
prostitute; or
(g) is lodging or residing in a house or
part of a house used by any prostitute
for the purpose of prostitution, or is
otherwise living in circumstances
calculated to cause, encourage, or
favour the seduction or prostitution of
the child,
and the court before which a person is brought as coming
within one of those descriptions, if satisfied on inquiry of that
fact, may order the child to be taken out of the custody,
charge, or care of any person, and to be committed to the care
of a relative of the child or some other fit person or institution
named by the court (such relative or other person or
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institution being willing to undertake such care), until the
child attains the age of sixteen years, or for any shorter
period, and may in addition to such order make an order that
the child be placed under the supervision of a probation
officer, and the court may of its own motion, or on the
application of any person, from time to time, by order renew,
vary, or revoke any such order:
Provided that a child shall not be treated as coming
within the description contained in paragraph (f) if the only
common or reputed prostitute whose company the child
frequents is the mother of the child, and she exercises proper
guardianship and due care to protect the child from
contamination.
(2) Every order made under this section shall be in
writing, and any such order may be made by the court in the
absence of the child; and the consent of any person or
institution to undertake the care of the child in pursuance of
any such order shall be proved in such manner as the court
may think sufficient to bind that person or institution.
(3) Any person or institution to whose care a child
is committed under this section shall, whilst the order is in
force, have the like control over the child as the parent and
shall be responsible for his maintenance, and the child shall
continue in the care of such person or institution,
notwithstanding that he is claimed by his parent or any other
person, and if any person—
(a) knowingly assists or induces, directly
or indirectly, a child to escape from
the person or institution to whose care
he is so committed; or
(b) knowingly harbours, conceals, or
prevents from returning to such
person or institution, a child who has
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Persons under
17 charged
with certain
so escaped or knowingly assists in so
doing,
he shall be liable to a fine of nine thousand seven hundred
and fifty dollars or to imprisonment for two months.
(4) Any court having power so to commit a child
shall have power to make orders on the parent or other
person liable to maintain the child to contribute to his
maintenance during such period as aforesaid such sums as
the court shall think fit, and may from time to time vary such
orders.
(5) Any such order may be made on the complaint
or application of the person or institution to whose care the
child is for the time being committed, and either at the time
when the order for the committal of the child to his care is
made, or subsequently, and the sums contributed by the
parent or such other person shall be paid to such person or
institution as the court may name, and be applied for the
maintenance of the child.
(6) Where any parent or other person has been
ordered under this section to contribute to the maintenance of
a child, he shall give notice of any change of address to the
Registrar or the clerk of the court as the case may be, and if he
fails to do so without reasonable excuse, he shall be liable to a
fine not exceeding four thousand eight hundred and seventy-
five dollars.
(7) The Minister may at any time in his discretion
discharge a child from the care of any person or institution to
whose care he is committed in pursuance of this section,
either absolutely or on such conditions as the Minister
approves.
18. (1) Where a person apparently under the age of
seventeen years is charged before any court with an offence
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offences liable
to be
committed to
care of
institution.
[4 of 1944
4 of 1972]


Methods of
dealing with
children and
young persons
charged with
offences.
[15 of 1952
4 of 1972
20 of 2010]

c. 11:06
punishable with imprisonment or a less punishment, and he
ought in the opinion of the court to be committed to the care
of an institution named by the court, the court may order him
to be so committed until he attains the age of eighteen years
or for any shorter period.
(2) Section 17(2) to (7) (inclusive) shall apply in the
case of a person committed to the care of an institution under
this section as they apply in the case of a child committed to
the care of an institution under that section.
19. Where a child or young person charged with any
offence is tried by any court, and the court is satisfied of his
guilt, the court shall not record a conviction against him, and
may make one or more of the following orders, not
inconsistent with each other, subject to such conditions as the
court may deem necessary to ensure compliance with the
order or orders made—
(a) dismissing the charge; or
(b) discharging the offender on his
entering into recognizance; or
(c) discharging the offender and placing
him under the supervision of a
probation officer; or
(d) committing the offender to the care of
a relative or other fit person or of an
institution named by the court; or
(e) sending the offender to a training
school within the meaning of the
Training Schools Act; or
(f) [Deleted by Act No. 20 of 2010]

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c. 11:02

Provision of
places of
detention.

(g) ordering the parent or guardian of the
offender to pay a fine, damages, or
costs; or
(h) ordering the parent or guardian of the
offender to give security for his good
behaviour; or
(i) committing the offender to custody in
a place of detention provided under
this Act; or
(j) where the offender is a young person,
such as could be made under section 3
of the Extra-Mural Work Act, and in
that event the provisions of that Act
shall apply with such modifications as
are necessary to bring them into
accord with this Act.
20. (1) It shall be the duty of the Minister to provide
such places of detention as may be required for the purposes
of this Act.
(2) The Minister may determine that some places
of detention shall be used for some only of the purposes for
which places of detention are required to be provided and
other places for the other purposes.
(3) It shall be lawful for the authority or persons
responsible for the management of any institution other than
a prison whether supported out of public funds or by
voluntary contributions, but subject in the case of an
institution supported out of public funds to the consent of the
Minister responsible for finance, to agree with the Minister for
the use of the institution or any part thereof as a place of
detention on such terms as may be agreed upon between
them and the Minister.

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Holding Centre
for Juveniles.
[18 of 2007]
(4) In selecting the place of detention to which a
child or young person is to be committed the court or officer
of police shall have regard, where practicable, to the religious
persuasion of the child or young person.
20A. (1) The Minister may establish and maintain as
many centres as may be necessary as the Holding Centres for
Juveniles for reception, care and custody of children and
young persons under the orders of the court or for any other
appropriate reasons as the Minister may determine.
(2) Where the Minister is of the opinion that any
institution other than a centre established and maintained
under subsection (1) is fit for the reception, care and custody
of children and young persons under the orders of the court,
he may recognize and certify such institution as a Holding
Centre for Juveniles for the purposes of this Act.
(3) Subject to the regulations as may be made in
this behalf, the Holding Centres for Juveniles shall provide for
the reception and custody of the following children and
young persons—
(a) juveniles awaiting their court
appearance;
(b) juveniles who have been committed
by the courts but not escorted to the
New Opportunity Corps;
(c) juveniles who have completed the
period of their sentence and awaiting
rehabilitation to their families or to
the community;
(d) such other category of juveniles as the
Minister may determine.

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Provisions as to
custody of
children and
young persons
in places of
detention.
[18 of 2007]


Expenses of
maintenance of
child or young
person.
[4 of 1972
18 of 2007]

(4) Every Holding Centre for Juveniles to which a
child or young person is sent by a court under this Act may,
in addition to providing such child or young person with
accommodation, maintenance, health care and facilities of
education or vocational training and rehabilitation, provide
facilities for the development of his character and abilities and
also give him necessary training for protecting himself against
moral danger or exploitation and shall also perform such
other functions as may be prescribed to ensure all round
growth and development of his personality.
21. (1) The order or judgment in pursuance of which a
child or young person is committed to custody in a place of
this Act shall be delivered with the child or young person to
the person in charge of the place of detention or a Holding
Centre for Juveniles and shall be a sufficient authority for his
detention in that place in accordance with the tenor thereof.
(2) A child or young person whilst so detained and
whilst being conveyed to and from the place of detention or a
Holding Centre for Juveniles shall be deemed to be in legal
custody and if he escapes may be apprehended without
warrant and brought back to the place of detention or a
Holding Centre for Juveniles in which he was detained.
(3) The Minister shall cause places of detention and
Holding Centres for Juveniles provided under this Act to be
inspected.
22. The expenses incurred by the Minister in respect
of the places of detention and the Holding Centres for
Juveniles provided by the authority, including the expenses of
the maintenance of any child or young person detained
therein, shall be defrayed out of moneys provided by
Parliament.
detention or a Holding Centre for Juvenile provided under
LAWS OF GUYANA
Juvenile Offenders Cap. 10:03 21
L.R.O. 1/2012
Presumption
and
determination
of age.
[4 of 1972]


Power to make
regulations.
[4 of 1944
4 of 1972
18 of 2007]
23. Where a person, whether charged with an offence
or not, is brought before any court otherwise than for the
purpose of giving evidence, and it appears to the court that he
is a child or young person, the court shall make due inquiry
as to the age of that person, and for that purpose shall take
such evidence as may be forthcoming at the hearing of the
case, but an order or judgment of the court shall not be
invalidated by any subsequent proof that the age of that
person has not been correctly stated to the court, and the age
presumed or declared by the court to be the age of the person
so brought before it shall, for the purposes of this Act, be
deemed to be the true age of that person, and, where it
appears to the court that the person so brought before it is of
the age of seventeen years or upwards, that person shall for
the purposes of this Act be deemed not to be a child or young
person.
24. The Minister may make regulations—
(a) as to the places to be used as places of
detention and the Holding Centres for
Juveniles, and as to their management
and their inspection, and as to the
classification, treatment, employment,
discipline, control and welfare of
children and young persons detained
in custody in a place of detention and
the reception and custody of children
and young persons in a Holding
Centre for Juveniles, and for the
children and young persons whilst so
detained being visited from time to
time by persons appointed in
accordance with regulations;
(b) in relation to children and young
persons under the age of seventeen
years committed to the care of any
LAWS OF GUYANA
22 Cap. 10:03 Juvenile Offenders
L.R.O. 1/2012

Saving.
person or institution, and to the duties
and remuneration of such person or
institution with respect to such
children and young persons;
(c) generally, for carrying the provisions
of this Act into effect.
25. Save in so far as other provision is expressly made
in this Act, nothing in this Act shall be deemed to affect any
other law relating to children or young persons.
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