Grand Theft Auto kid can’t be charged with a crime

The boy had been inspired to take the car out for a spin after playing Grand Theft Auto.
The boy had been inspired to take the car out for a spin after playing Grand Theft Auto. (Photo: REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo)

Canadian news outlets recently reported that an 11-year-old Vaughan, Ont. boy was caught by police after taking his parent’s car out for a joyride on a major highway. The boy had been inspired to take the car out for a spin after playing the videogame Grand Theft Auto.

The incident happened Saturday night and police were alerted by other drivers that there was an erratic driver on the highway. The vehicle seemed to be all over the highway and the driver was doing over 120 km/h. When police finally managed to get the vehicle to stop, they found the child behind the wheel.

Luckily nobody was hurt but Sgt. Kerry Schmidt with the Ontario Provincial Police was quite disturbed by the incident, explaining that police “got the driver out of the vehicle and, shockingly, (it was) an 11-year-old kid who had just (finished) playing Grand Theft Auto at home and wanted to find out what it was like to drive a car. . . An absolute tragedy waiting to happen.”

While these facts have been widely reported, what has often been left out is that the boy can’t be charged with a crime. That is despite having broken the speed limit and driving dangerously, because he’s considered to be too young to be charged under Canadian law.

In Canada, the law is that no one shall be prosecuted for a criminal offence committed while they’re under the age of 12. . . So as far as the matter going to court and what defences the child would have, it’s a moot point as he’s 11 years old,” Toronto criminal lawyer Theo Sarantis told AdvocateDaily.com.

The Youth Criminal Justice Act, under which youth offenders fall, applies only to minors between the ages of 12 to 17. A person above the age of 17 is dealt with as an adult and falls under the Criminal Code but a person under 12 years of age doesn’t really fall under any federal criminal act.

However, just because the boy doesn’t fall under the Youth Criminal Justice Act doesn’t necessarily mean that there will be no consequences for him, as he could still face some non-criminal punishments under other laws. And that is before his parents get a hold of him!

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