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NO DEFINITE DEFINITION OF A CHILD

Dictum

As Willes, J., observed in Reg. v. Cockerton (1901) 1 KB 322 at pp.340/341, when dealing with the provisions of the Elementary Education Act, 1870 – “Except for the purposes of one Act, dealing with compulsory attendance, no definition has been given of a “child”. It is impossible to lay down any definite boundary as separating “children” from “young men” or “young women”, or any other description by which an advance beyond childhood may be indicated. Practically, I suppose that at somewhere between sixteen and seventeen at the highest an age has been arrived at which no one would ordinarily call childhood.”

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We entertain some doubt as to whether or not the definition of child in the Criminal Procedure Act does not necessarily carry the same connotation in the context of Section 182 of the Evidence Act, but the point is immaterial to our present decision since it must be generally accepted that a boy or girl...

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A child is a young person in the formative period of life and whilst it is easy to see that a person of the age of 6 or 7 years does not understand the nature of an oath, it is impossible to be categorical on the capability or otherwise of a child of the age...

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