ACTION OF COURTS, WHEN HEARING A CASE WITHOUT VERIFICATION OF EVIDENCES, HAS NOT ALWAYS BEEN JUSTIFIED
16 January, 2014
In order to ensure precise application of provisions of Section 499 of the Criminal Procedure Law, and thus, correct qualification of crimes in criminal cases, which have been reviewed without verification of evidences, the Division of Case-law of the Supreme Court in cooperation with doctor of Law, Professor Valentija Liholaja, performed research of case-law on review of such cases. Compilation was accepted in the meeting of judges of the Department of Criminal Cases of the Supreme Court.
It is concluded in research that practice of the first instance courts in qualification of crimes, if a case is heard without verification of evidences, had not always been cogent and complying with law.
In accordance with provisions stipulated in Section 499 of the Criminal Procedure Law, the court may adopt a decision on non-performance of verification of evidences regarding whole accusation or its independent part only upon condition that the accused admits his/her guilt in all charges brought against him/her or in respective part of those; if a court, having examined case file, has no doubts about guilt of the accused; if the accused, and, in case of mandatory defence, his/her counsel defence and representative agree with non-performance of such verification.
Cases have been established in research, when qualification of crimes indicated in accusation is erroneous or at least controversial, often because of inaccuracies existing in accusation. In such cases, doubts should occur in the court of the first instance about correctness of legal evaluation of the crime and guiltiness of he accused in crime incriminated to him/her, which could have been eliminated by verification of evidences. The fact that the accused admits his/her guilt, does not release the court from verification of other provisions included in Section 499, Paragraph One, of the Criminal Procedure Law. The court, when deciding on non-performance of verification of evidences, should verify if actual circumstances of the crime approve legal qualification of the crime. In its turn, the appellate instance court does not always make certain if the court of the first instance had reviewed the case without verification of evidences with good reason.
However, research lets come to conclusion that in criminal cases, which had mostly been reviewed in 2012 and 2013, provisions stipulated in the Section 499 of the Criminal Procedure Law, which are mandatory, when adopting decisions on non-performance of verification of evidences, have been observed, in general. Rulings of the Department of Criminal Cases of the Senate of the Supreme Court played important role in ensuring of that and thus, in correct qualification of crimes, explaining content and meaning of conditions of non-performance of verification of evidences and eliminating mistakes in application of those.
Taking into account errors and imperfections established in result of research and observing conclusions set in theory of criminal law and in case-law, and in compilations of case-law performed by the Supreme Court, concrete conclusions and proposals are offered at the end of research.
Research contains analysis of 115 court rulings on 158 convicted individuals charged with commitment of 30 different crimes – crimes against an individual, crimes against property, crimes in national economy, crimes against general safety and social order, crimes against road safety, crimes against management order and crimes against jurisdiction.
Compilation of court decisions “Case-law in qualification of crimes, if case was reviewed without verification of evidences” is available on the web site of the Supreme Court www.at.gov.lv in section Judicature/ Compilations of court decisions/ Criminal law.
Information prepared by
Rasma Zvejniece, the Head of the Division of Communication of the Supreme Court
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, telephone: 67020396, 28652211