Parents in Antigua could be charged for their children’s crimes in future

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service
Information Minister Melford Nicholas.

Laws will be changed in neighboring Antigua and Barbuda to hold parents accountable for the criminal behavior of their children. These parents could also be charged for their children’s crimes.

The Gaston Browne-led administration made the announcement on Thursday, which represents a significant policy shift, less than a year after the government initially deemed such a move unfair.

The decision comes after a recent court ruling in the United States where Jennifer Crumbley was held accountable for her son Ethan Crumbley’s actions.

Ethan, who was 15 at the time, committed a mass shooting at Oxford High School in Michigan in 2021, resulting in the death of four students and injuries to seven others. He is now serving a life sentence.

James Crumbley, Ethan’s father, is currently on trial for allegedly purchasing the gun and ammunition used in the shooting.

Prosecutors argue that the parents were grossly negligent in preventing their son’s actions, including neglecting his mental health.

The Cabinet discussed this case during their weekly meeting on Wednesday, leading to the potential law change, as stated by Information Minister Melford Nicholas.

“We will be looking at our own law to [determine] if a parent or guardian operates in an environment where they are wilfully blind to the criminal operations of their minors and then it turns out that there is a victim of that crime … then, yes, we are looking at implementing similar measures in our legislative framework,” Nicholas said.

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