Sentencing in The Childrens Court

Sentencing in The Childrens Court

Aitken Whyte Lawyers Sunshine Coast


Aitken Whyte Lawyers Criminal Defence team are aware of the unique challenges faced by children and young people who must appear before the Court on criminal charges.

We also understand it can be a trying time for their families.

Having a knowledgeable and experienced legal team can go a long way in relieving the worry and uncertainty you may experience during this time.

Below is some information on the sentencing options available in the Childrens Court and other common questions so that you can be better informed.

For more information on the process generally, including who may have to appear before the Childrens Court, jurisdictions, and bail, see our Childrens Court page.

For advice on your situation, call us 24/7 on 07 5408 0655


What Are the Possible Sentences?

The Court hears all matters relating to juveniles in line with the Children’s Court Act 1992 and Youth Justice Act 1992.

When the matter is finalised, the Court will consider:

  • the seriousness of the crime committed;
  • the history of the child; and
  • the likelihood of rehabilitation.

They will accordingly hand down a sentence of one or a combination of the following orders:

  • Detention order;
  • Community service orders;
  • Supervised release orders;
  • Probation orders;
  • Conditional release orders;
  • Good behaviour order;
  • Fine;
  • Drug assessment and education;
  • Restitution and compensation; or
  • License disqualification.



If the Court sentences your child to a detention order, they will serve it at a youth detention centre.

There are currently two youth detention centres in Queensland at the following locations.

Brisbane Youth Detention Centre
99 Wolston Park Road


Cleveland Youth Detention Centre
27-79 Old Common Road
Belgian Gardens


Will My Child Have A Criminal Record?

If the Court finds your child guilty, they will record the sentence order as part of their Criminal History. The prosecution can bring this up at any future Childrens Court proceedings.
No Conviction Recorded

The Magistrate has the discretion of whether to record a conviction.

If the Court does not record a conviction, then generally your child will not have to inform future employers and the like of the charge, however, this can depend on the nature of the charge.
Recording of A Conviction

If the Court records a conviction, it will not form part of your child’s adult criminal history.

Any conviction may still require disclosure or come up in a background check.


Publicity of The Offence

Generally, it is illegal to publish any material about a proceeding against a child for a criminal offence which could lead to their identification.

This means there should be a ban on the publication of the following information:

  • the name of the child;
  • address of the child;
  • the school the child attends;
  • their place of employment; and
  • any photographs of the child.


Obligations of The Parent or Guardian of a Child Defendant

The Court will generally require the presence of a parent or guardian of a child defendant under section 69 of the Youth Justices Act 1992, irrespective of the child’s wishes.

If no parent or guardian is present, the Magistrate may make enquiries about their whereabouts, whether they are aware of the offences their child is before the Court for, and, if necessary, adjourn the matter to a date when they can attend.

The Court can also order that a parent or guardian attend a hearing and issue a fine if they do not appear according to section 70 of the Youth Justice Act 1992.

The maximum fine that can be issued for non-appearance is $6,300.

Your Rights in Court as The Parent or Guardian of a Child Defendant

As a parent or guardian, you have the right to be present throughout the proceedings. You will have the full opportunity for the Court to hear you and to participate in the proceedings under section 72 of the Youth Justice Act 1992.

If Your Child’s Matter Was Heard Without You

If the Court hears and finalises the matter of a child without their parent or guardian present, it is possible in certain circumstances, where the Court considers it in the interests of justice to do so, to have that order set aside and have the matter re-heard in the presence of the parent or guardian under section 71 of the Youth Justice Act 1992.

Examples of when this can occur are where the parent or guardian’s absence adversely affected the child’s capacity to make decisions about the proceedings before the Court.

The child, their guardian, or representative may make any such application within 28 days of the original decision.

If you would like to apply to set aside your child’s sentence, it is therefore important to obtain legal advice and act quickly to ensure you file the application in the proper form with all supporting material within the relevant timeframe.


Matters the Childrens Court Does Not Deal With

The State Childrens Court does not deal with other family-related proceedings such as custody disputes, or parenting arrangements. These matters are heard by the Federal Family Court of Australia, which operates in a separate jurisdiction.


Do I Need to Get Legal Representation for My Child?

Given the serious sentencing options available in matters before the Childrens Court, it is important to ensure your child has the best representation possible to protect their rights now and to protect their future.

Our team of experienced advocates can advise you on the best way forward.

If the police have charged your child with an offence, call our office on 07 5408 0655 for a free discussion.


Here to Help

Proper experience acting in matters before the Childrens Court is essential.

Aitken Whyte Lawyers are focused on results.

Our Criminal Defence team will advise you on the proper course to take to achieve the best possible outcome, including negotiating with the police and proper preparation for your child’s Court appearance.

For more information on the process, including who may have to appear before the Childrens Court, jurisdictions of the Childrens Court and bail, see our Childrens Court page.

Aitken Whyte Lawyers can represent you in all matters before the Childrens Court.

Office Location and Contact Details

Sunshine Coast

Aitken Whyte Lawyers
11/8 Pikki Street,
Maroochydore Qld 4558
Ph: +617 5408 0655
Fax: +617 3211 9311
Email Us


Aitken Whyte Lawyers
11/8 Pikki Street,
Maroochydore Qld 4558

T: 07 5408 0655

Email Us


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Lawyers for Sunshine Coast, Maroochydore, Mooloolaba, Buderim, Noosa, Nambour and Caloundra, Queensland, Australia.