ABSTRACT

The Australian courts routinely talk about trends in offending and about young people committing certain types of offences. However, it is not surprising that the author has been unable to find any other study dealing with children sentenced for murder under Australian legislation. It is such a rare offence. When a person kills, an outraged public, quite reasonably, will ask what the motive was, and the author suggests it is only explicable in the following terms. At times, making sense of murder is a straightforward exercise, with no dispute as to why offenders were at the scene and the nature and extent of their involvement and intentions. Just as there is fluidity about the social dealings of adolescents in general, an adolescent’s involvement in a homicide often straddles multiple categories. Whilst juvenile perpetrators acting alone were rare, establishing the true number of offenders involved in an incident presents something of a problem.