While reviewing cases about homicides in enforcing circumstances and especially enforcing circumstances, courts make more detailed analysis of objective and subjective signs of a crime, more voluminous motivation of qualification of the crime has been given in decisions of the court, using both theoretical conclusions and positions of the case-law, such conclusion was made in a research made by the Supreme Court about the case-law in criminal cases about homicides, for which responsibility has been established in Paragraphs 116-118 of the Criminal Law (CL).  

In comparison with previous researches, qualification of crimes given by courts that doesn’t always conform to juridical evaluation of the crime given in pre-trial criminal proceedings and kept in court debate, in most cases has been admitted as conforming to the law and established in court hearing. Courts often had to confute and reject ungrounded pleas of the defence about their qualification according to other standards of the CL, and it testifies about understanding of criteria of limitation of threats to life and health of the person.

But during research there have been also established arguable and faulty decisions of qualification of homicide made both by prosecutor and by the court, in many cases practice of application of punishments is negotiable.  

While analysing practice of application of punishments, authors of the research stated that giving minimal punishment of imprisonment, established in the sanction of Paragraphs 116-118 of the CL, is widespread, and it breaks what has been said in the decision of the Department of Criminal Cases of the Senate of February 8, 2006, in case SKK-74/06 that “in essence of the Criminal Law existence of enforcing circumstance itself excludes application of minimal punishment, established in the sanction of the Paragraph”. While applying the punishment, there has not always been observed what has been defined in Part 2 of the Paragraph 46 of the CL that it is necessary to evaluate all criteria defined in it equally – character of crime committed and harm made, personality of the accused party, enforcing circumstances and palliatives, more important role belongs especially to data about personality.

In separate cases incorrectly there has been solved question about palliatives and enforcing circumstances, while breaking what has been defined in the law that it is not possible to admit as a palliative or enforcing circumstance such circumstance, which has been established as a feature of composition of the crime.  

Court decisions researched allow conclude that almost all homicides were made, when accused person, victim and present persons were drunk. In most cases homicides were made during disputes, being drunk, while explicating relationship, or even it was not possible to remember the reason of argument later. Reasons of homicides often are anger, hate, revenge, jealousness of spouses, but more often – between cohabitants.

Homicides made have been characterised by cynicism and cruelty: victims have been murdered by numerous strokes with knife or axe; they have been kicked to death. Most often tools of homicide are knife, bludgeon, plank; victims have been strangulated, or drowned.

In the research, made by the Division of the Case-Law and the Department of Criminal cases of the Senate in cooperation with professionals in the field of law, there have been analysed criminal cases, in which court decisions came into force in 2008 and 2009. 198 decisions about 109 persons were researched; 95 of these decisions were made in the court of the first instance, 81 are decisions of the court of appeal, and 22 decisions are of cassation instance.  

It is possible to get acquainted with compilations of the case-law in the home page of the Supreme Court www.at.gov.lv in chapter Court information/Compilations of Court Decisions.

 

 

Information prepared by  

The Head of the Division of Communication of the Supreme Court Rasma Zvejniece  

E-mail: rasma.zvejniece@at.gov.lv, telephone: 67020396, 28652211