The Content of Guilt in the Cases Regarding the Crimes Against a Person’s Health and Life

Vytautas Piesliakas

Abstract


The author of the article explores the problem of the sentencing of the persons who committed crimes against a person’s health and life. The author investigates two groups of crimes and discusses the courts’ practice in such cases. The first category of crimes person. The author provides several decisions of the courts in similar cases when a person uses a knife and several times hits the body of the victim, what results in a grave bodily injury. In all cases discussed the perpetrator is sentenced for grave bodily injuries but not for an attempt to murder the victim. The author presents an in-depth analysis of the problem and arrives at a conclusion that courts do not pay enough attention to the content of the intention of the perpetrator. According to the Lithuanian criminal law theory, an intention can be definite or indefinite. When an intention is definite, the perpetrator understands that his behaviour is dangerous to the life of a person, predicts the murder of the victim and wishes such a consequence of his actions. When an intention is indefinite, the perpetrator understands that his behaviour is dangerous to the health or the life of the victim, but wishes any possible consequences. When an intention is indefinite, a person should be sentenced according to the arising consequences of the crime. So, when the victim does not die from the injuries, the perpetrator is sentenced for the consequences of his act. However, the author thinks that in the cases when a knife is used to hit the body in such a way that the vital functions are impaired, the perpetrator understands that he endangers not only the health but also the life of the victim. In this context the intention is not indefinite (in-between health and life). In those cases a person should not be sentenced according to the consequences. The perpetrator should be sentenced for the attempt to commit murder (according to the content of his intention). He should be sentenced according to the gravest consequences that he predicted.

Keywords


intention; content of intention; murder; grave bodily injury

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"Societal studies" ISSN online 2029-2244 / ISSN print 2029-2236