Two boys are among Britain’s youngest sex offenders after they were found guilty of attempting to rape an eight-year-old girl.
A judge ordered the 10-year-old and 11-year-old to sign the sex offenders register.
But Mr Justice Saunders said: “I am not quite sure how it applies to children of this age.”
And there were calls for how youngsters are handled by the legal system to change, with a children’s charity claiming the way the case had been dealt with was “absolutely wrong”.
The register is full of paedophiles and rapists whose contact with children and vulnerable people is controlled.
If the boys had been younger than 10, they would have been too young to be charged. The youngest person convicted of rape is thought to be 12.
The boys were both 10 in October, last year, when the girl told her mother they had assaulted her in Hayes, west London.
Despite a teacher for the older boy saying he was a model pupil who exhibited no sexual behaviour, he and his friend lured the girl into some flats.
They then took her into a stairwell, a lift and a bin shed, before continuing their assault in a field.
At one point, the girl told the Old Bailey, they threw her scooter into a bush and refused to retrieve it unless she did what they said. The jury cleared them of two rape offences each but found them guilty of two offences of attempted rape each by a 10-2 majority