Problematic Aspects of Presumption of Innocence while Establishing Insufficient Social Maturity of a Young Adult

Dovilė Gaidelytė


The article analyses the context regarding the presumption of sufficient social maturity regulated by the norms of criminal procedure.
Legal norms foresee the possibility to apply the peculiarities of juvenile criminal responsibility to young adults (18-20 years), when their social maturity is equal to juvenile’s maturity. However, the researches conducted by the author of the article as well as the Law Institute revealed the fact that the provisions of the criminal law, which are considered to be modern and highly evaluated by the scientists, are rarely applied in practice. Moreover, the accused person and (or) his counsel for the defence avail themselves of a duty to deny the presumption of sufficient social maturity. Taking into consideration the principle of presumption of innocence and the rule regarding sharing of burden of proof, the author of the article drew a conclusion that the present denial mechanism of sufficient social maturity does not only contradict to the presumption of innocence, but also is not in compliance with the purposes and requirements established for the juveniles in the criminal procedure.
The article tries to show that the issue regarding sufficient social maturity should be examined in the pre-trial investigation, but not in the trial itself. In such a case, some goals are possible to be achieved. Firstly, the legal interests and rights of a young adult participating in the criminal procedure could be more secured. Secondly, the principles of comprehensibility and economy of the criminal procedure could be implemented.


criminal procedure; social maturity; presumption; burden of proof; juvenile; young adult

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