30/07/2022 09:23

Should juveniles who intentionally cause injury be criminally responsible in Vietnam?

Should juveniles who intentionally cause injury be criminally responsible in Vietnam?

A juvenile is a person who is not fully developed both physically and mentally. They often do not control their thoughts and behaviors, so they will act immaturely. Just a glance can lead to a fight, just because a small action has serious consequences that lead to themselves getting caught by the law of Vietnam. But, because they are minors, the law is also more lenient with them.

Typically, in judgment 64/2018/HS-PT  dated August 24, 2018, the People's Court of Hai Phong city conducted a public appeal hearing for the crime of intentionally causing injury to defendant Dam Duy K.

Specifically, on July 25, 2017, Dam Duy K, born on April 19, 2001 (when he committed the crime, he was 16 years old, 3 months and 6 days old) carry a 23 cm long fruit knife and walk from my house to Pham The M1's house, Pham Dinh Huong played and met Dao Ngoc P. After that, the whole group invited each other to go for a walk. When going to the road in D village, LD commune, the group met Cao Ngoc M with Nguyen Trinh K, Dam Hung N, Pham Van T, Nguyen Trinh Khai D, Hoang Trung H1 going in the opposite direction. Because Cao Ngoc M and Dao Ngoc P had a conflict before, Cao Ngoc M used his hands and feet to kick P, P also used his hands to fight back. Pham Van Thang ran to intervene. Seeing Cao Ngoc M and Dao Ngoc P fighting, Dam Hung N ran to support M. When N rushed in to hit P, P called "K, K". Seeing this, K used a fruit knife about 23 cm long hidden in his body to stab N's right forearm once, N ran away. K rushed to the place where P and M fought, stood behind M and stabbed him 3 times. As a result, Cao Ngoc M damaged 33% of his body.

The Court has applied Clause 3, Article 134, Article 51; Article 91; Article 54; Article 65 of the Criminal Code 2015 tried defendant Dam Duy K for the crime of "Intentionally causing injury". Dam Duy K was sentenced to 36 months in prison but was given a suspended sentence.

In this case, we see that the Court has applied many mitigating circumstances to the defendant's penalty frame.

Compared with the provisions of the criminal law in Article 91, when dealing with persons under 18 years old committing crimes as follows:

Article 91. Rules for taking actions against juvenile offenders

1. Actions against juvenile offenders must be taken in their best interests and for the purpose of education, helping them to rectify their wrongdoing, develop healthily and become a helpful citizen.

Actions taken against juvenile offenders depend on their ages, awareness of their criminal acts, reasons and circumstances in which the criminal offences are committed.

2. A juvenile offender who commits a criminal offence in any of the following circumstances and has more than one mitigating factors, voluntarily repairs the most part of the damage caused may be exempt from criminal responsibility and the measures specified in Section 2 of this Chapter, provided it is not the case specified in Article 29 hereof:

Defendant Dam Duy K, who committed the crime of causing injury under Clause 3, Article 134, was sentenced to between 04 years and 07 years of imprisonment, but the court applied additional Articles 54 and Article 91 of the Criminal Code. If the penalty is applied, the defendant will only be sanctioned according to Clause 1, Article 134 of the Criminal Code. This shows the leniency of the law for minors.

Especially in the case, although there was the act of carrying a knife and stabbing the victim 3 times, the Court did not apply the "thugs" circumstance to the defendant even though the representative of the Procuracy protested against the defendant, request the Court to use this aggravating circumstance.

According to Official Dispatch No. 38/NCPL dated January 6, 1976 and at the 1995 Industry Review Conference, the concept of thugs is understood as the actions of those who disregard the law, always disrupting order and safety willing to use force and like (or) to use force to intimidate others into submission, for no reason or just for a petty pretext of stabbing or even killing. Their actions are often infringing on the health, life, and honor of others, fighting and assaulting others for no reason or for a petty reason...

This situation depends on the subjective will of each person, there is no uniformity of general application, which easily leads to the situation of judges, prosecutors, etc., which are determined to have a hooligan nature, which is typical in the case of the judgment.

Through the case, we see that the Trial Panel has comprehensively considered the relationship between the offender and the victim, the defendant's attitude when committing the crime, the causes leading to the accused's committing the crime. ... Not only that, the court found that the defendant was still a minor, his ability to perceive the law was still limited, and the defendant's behavior was spontaneous and immediate, so when imposing penalties on juvenile offenders, the Court has limited the application of imprisonment penalties. The handling of the accused is mainly aimed at educating and helping the accused to correct his mistakes, develop healthy and become useful citizens for society. The judgment that the Court has given is completely justified.

Thu Linh

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