Children Act 2001

Deferment of detention order.


144.—(1) Without prejudice to section 145, where a court—

(a) has considered a probation officer’s report or any other report made pursuant to this Part,

(b) has heard the evidence of any person whose attendance it may have requested, including any person who made such a report,

(c) has given the parent or guardian of the child concerned (or, if the child is married, his or her spouse), if present in court for the proceedings, or, if not so present, an adult relative of the child or other adult accompanying the child, an opportunity to give evidence, and

(d) is of opinion that the appropriate way of dealing with the child would be to make a children detention order,

it may defer making the order, in accordance with the provisions of this section, if a place is not available for the child in a children detention school or for any other sufficient reason.

(2) The court shall defer the making of a children detention order only if the court is satisfied that, having regard to the nature of the offence and the age, level of understanding, character and circumstances of the child concerned, it would be in the interests of justice to defer the making of the order.

(3) Where the making of a children detention order is deferred, the court shall adjourn the hearing and order that the child concerned be placed under the supervision of a probation and welfare officer.

(4) In case the making of the order has been deferred because a place for the child is not available in a children detention school, the court shall order that the Director of that school shall apply to the court to make the children detention order when such a place becomes available.

(5) In any other case, the court shall state in open court—

(a) the period of detention that is being deferred,

(b) the date of the resumed court hearing, and

(c) that the court will take into account at that hearing the information in the probation and welfare officer’s report concerning the child’s conduct in the meantime and the other matters mentioned in subsection (7)(b).

(6) The court shall also explain to the child in open court in language appropriate to the level of understanding of the child—

(a) why the making of the children detention order is being deferred and for what period,

(b) any of the conditions referred to in section 117 which the court suggests should be complied with by the child during that period,

(c) the expectation of the court that the child will be of good conduct during that period and the possible consequences for the child of his or her failure to comply with any such conditions, and

(d) the expectation of the court that the child’s parents or guardian, where appropriate, will help and encourage the child to comply with any such conditions and not commit further offences.

(7) (a)  The probation and welfare officer under whose supervision the child has been placed shall prepare a report on the child for consideration by the court at the resumed hearing.

(b)  The report shall contain information on the child’s conduct after the finding of guilt, including the extent to which the child has complied with any conditions suggested by the court, on any change in the child’s circumstances and on any reparation by the child to the victim, together with any other information which the officer considers to be relevant.

(c)  The officer shall make all reasonable endeavours to ensure that the report is lodged with the clerk or other proper officer of the court at least 4 working days before the date of the resumed hearing.

(8) The resumed court hearing shall take place not later than one year from the date of the adjourned hearing and may take place notwithstanding that the child has attained the age of 18 years in the meantime.

(9) At the resumed hearing the court shall consider the report prepared by the probation and welfare officer and, if the court thinks it necessary, hear evidence from the officer and shall by order—

(a) impose the period of detention which it had deferred or any shorter period,

(b) suspend the whole or any portion of a period of detention so imposed, or

(c) impose a community sanction appropriate to the age of the child concerned,

and shall explain to the child in open court the reasons for its decision in language that the child understands.

(10) Where—

(a) the Director of a children detention school applies to the court pursuant to an order under subsection (4), and

(b) the court proposes to make a children detention order,

it may issue a summons requiring the child to appear before it and, if the child does not appear in answer to the summons, may issue a warrant for his or her arrest.

(11) Where the making of a children detention order has been deferred under this section it may not be further so deferred.