Leap-year baby causes a conundrum for court child or adult

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A leap-year baby who committed an offence exactly 18 years after she was born has puzzled an Australian Capital Territory court.

The girl, who remains anonymous due to legal reasons, was born February 29, 2000. There was however no February 29 in 2018, in accordance with the Gregorian calendar.  

ACT courts are now struggling to determine if the girl should be officially tried as an adult in the eyes of the law. 

The ACT Children’s Court originally decided that the girl should be considered an 18-year-old and dealt with through the adult court system.

The plot thickened as the girl’s lawyers appealed this decision, pointing out that a person born on February 2, 2000 would not be 18 on February 1, 2018. 

They instead argued that the girl did not properly turn 18 until March 1, one day after she committed the offence.  

Honourable Associate Justice of the ACT Supreme Court Verity McWilliam agreed that the child should be seen as a child in this particular instance.

‘It follows that on the proper construction of [the law in question], on 28 February 2018, the plaintiff was not yet an adult, being someone who was ‘at least 18 years old’, because she had not yet reached the beginning of the anniversary of her birth.

‘It was only on 1 March 2018 that she became someone who was ‘at least’ 18 years old,’ she told ABC News.  

Daily Mail Australia has reached out to the ACT Magistrates Court for comment.  

Astronomically, a year is currently 365.25 days, minus a little. To keep it at this number, every year that is exactly divisible by four is a leap year with the extra day becoming February 29.

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