The Division of Case-law of the Supreme Court, in cooperation with the Doctor in law   Valentija Liholaja, has carried out study of case-law in criminal cases on cruelty and violence  towards minors, and conclusions of compilation are accepted at the general meeting of judges of the Department of Criminal Cases.  

The study draws attention to the fact that by amendments of 13 December 2012, sanctions stipulated in Section 174 of the Criminal Law, and, accordingly, classification of the offence included therein, were changed. If previously the offence towards a minor stipulated in Paragraph One, which was aimed at protection of minors, and Paragraph Two of this Section, was classified as less serious crime, after amendments made to the law the offence included in Paragraph Two is recognised as serious.   

Explaining objective features of the crime stipulated in Section 174 of the Criminal Law, the study points out that cruel and violent treatment of a juvenile or a minor is two independent, alternative ways of expression of criminal action, which must be specified and precisely indicated in each indictment and court ruling. Moreover, it must be precisely indicated, what physical or psychological sufferings and by what way of treatment were caused. To admit the individual guilty in commitment of the crime stipulated in Section 174 of the Criminal Law, it must be established that it is a person the victim was dependent on financially or by other means.

However, having assessed subjective features of the crime, it must be stated that crime stipulated in Section 174 of the Criminal Law is intentional, and it is characterised by direct intention, because the guilty person is aware of harm of his action (action or inaction) and commits it deliberately.

When deciding the issue on dismissal of criminal proceedings and release of an individual from criminal liability, on the basis of settlement concluded between the representative of a minor and the accused person, it must be considered that in criminal proceedings on crimes committed towards minors particularly careful analysis of all materials of the case file is necessary. Dismissal of criminal proceedings and release of a person, whose crime was directly aimed at a minor, from criminal liability is admissible, only if it has been performed in minor’s interests and the court is strongly convinced that those will not be endangered in future.  Moreover, the person, who is directly or indirectly interested in adjudication of the case in favour of a person, who caused harm, may not be representative of a victim.

140 rulings of the court of the first instance, which were adopted as from 2012 until July 2015, were analysed in the compilation. 19 criminal cases were examined under appellate procedure, and two cases – under cassation procedure.  64 criminal cases were examined without performance of verification of evidence, and 17 cases were examined under agreement procedure.  

147 persons were accused in analysed criminal cases: from among them, 11 persons were accused of commitment of the crime stipulated in Section 174 (1), and 136 persons were accused of commitment of the crime stipulated in Section 174 (2) of the Criminal Law. 134 persons were found guilty and punished, having imposed various penalties, three persons were acquitted, and nine accused were released from criminal liability due to settlement with the victim or victim’s representative, dismissing criminal proceedings,  and one person was released from punishment due to the fact that the crime was committed, being  in state of restricted accountability.

Compilationis available on the web site of the Supreme Court www.at.gov.lvin 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: rasma.zvejniece@at.gov.lv, telephone: 67020396, 28652211