14 August, 2015
When stating accusation in criminal cases on giving of bribes and bribe taking, requirement of the Criminal Procedure Law to indicate factual circumstances of each incriminated offence, which determine legal qualification, and indications on specificity of accusation, which have been repeatedly included in case-law, have not been observed always. Such conclusion is made in compilation of court decisions in criminal cases on Sections 320, 321, 322 and 323 of the Criminal Law, elaborated by the Doctor of Law Valentija Liholaja in cooperation with the Supreme Court. The accusation must be such that the accused person could know not only about the crime he or she is accused of, but also what particular actions performed are incriminated to him or her within charges brought. The accusation must be such that allows complete understanding of its essence, not looking for additional explanations in criminal cases – such statement is given in recommendations to compilation.
For case-law analysis, the Division of Case-law of the Supreme Court had selected 85 judgements of the court of the first instance rendered by the one regional court and 26 district (city) courts in 2012-2014. Rulings of the appellate and cassation instances in these cases are also analysed. Conclusions and recommendations of the compilation are discussed and approved at the general meeting of judges of the Department of Criminal Cases of the Supreme Court.
The compilation also includes other conditions to be observed, when presenting the accusation and adjudicating criminal cases of this category. It is stressed that bribe taking may be committed by state official only, thus correct qualification of the crime is important, when specifying and substantiation of status of person to be held liable. Also, when qualifying bribe taking, it is important to specify time of acceptance of the subject of the bribe, because the Criminal Law stipulates differential liability for bribe-gratitude and bribe-corruption, stipulating it more severe for the latter. It was concluded that, in praxis, the question of when (at what moment) bribe-taking and giving of the bribe are considered as complete offence, has not been solved uniformly, and recommendations are given on when the crime should be qualified as a bribe-taking committed in group of persons upon conspiracy; how request of a bribe should be distinguished from the extortion of a bribe; and how bribe-taking should be distinguished from the abuse of the official status.
Study “Case-law in criminal cases on Sections 320, 321, 322 and 323 of the Criminal Law” is available on the web site of the Supreme Court 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
Study “Case-law in criminal cases on Sections 320, 321, 322 and 323 of the Criminal Law” is elaborated within framework of the project “Interdisciplinary training for judiciary and other legal professions on origination of financial and economic crimes and related case-law” upon order of the Latvian Judicial Training Centre. The project is financed by the Programme on Prevention of and Fight against Crime of the Directorate General Home Affairs of the European Commission; co-finance is provided by the Latvian Judicial Training Centre, the Prosecutor’s General Office of the Republic of Latvia, the State Revenue Service, and the Latvian Council of Sworn Advocates. The research may not be considered as official opinion of the European Union.