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Murder charge dropped against 12yo

Written by on May 16, 2024

Prosecutors have dropped the charge of murder against a young girl accused of stabbing ato death.

The girl, 12, who was in state care, faced a single charge of murder over the killing of a woman, 37, in a Footscray apartment in Melbourne on 16 November, 2023.

Victorian prosecutors dropped the case on Thursday because of the legal principal doli incapax, which presumes that a child under the age of 14 is incapable of criminal intent, even when a criminal act is committed.

A Victoria Police spokesperson said it was the Director’s position that there were not reasonable prospects of conviction in this matter, because the prosecution would not have been able to rebut the presumption of doli incapax.

The matter will now be referred to the Coroner’s Court.

“The family of the victim has been notified and we will continue to support them throughout this process. Our thoughts are with them today,” the spokesperson said.

In the days after the fatal incident, the ABC’s 7.30 program reported that the Victoria Police had received a number of reports about the 12-year-old girl “running wild” on the streets of Footscray and being “prostituted out” to men.

A youth worker in the area, Samantha Cafaro told the program they heard she was selling herself to older men for money and had contacted police seven times within 12 months.

“When I first heard it, it was hard to believe,” she said.

“What we got told by them [the police] is that they can’t do anything, they can’t approach her, and they can’t stop these men.

“What we said to them was … isn’t there anything more that you can do?”

When the girl appeared in court last year, the court heard she had a history of trauma, suffered anxiety and was at risk of self-harm.

The child was taken to a juvenile detention centre where she was held on remand putting “her in a vulnerable position due to her age and intellectual disabilities.”

She was granted bail and released in an emergency late-night sitting in the Supreme Court.