On behalf a client we filed the first individual constitutional claim in the history of the Lithuanian legal system. We are challenging a ban on suspended sentences for people convicted of serious crimes as set in the the Lithuanian Criminal Code. This case sets a precedent that may influence the practice of criminal law in the country.
Prosecuted for distributing medical substances
The claim concerns a criminal case in which our client was charged with unlawfully engaging in commercial activities, possession of large quantities of psychotropic substances for the purpose of distribution, and smuggling psychotropic substances. Our client was accused of a serious crime after he failed to notice changes made in 2016 to the list of Narcotic and Psychotropic Substances. The drug modafinil was added to the list, and the accused had been involved in the sale of this and other drugs since 2015.
Claim questions whether a ban on suspended sentences is in line with the Constitution
The court found the accused guilty of a serious crime and imposed a sentence of four years in prison. Under the Criminal Code currently in force, a person convicted of a serious crime does not qualify for a suspended sentence. The claim filed with the Constitutional Court challenges whether this provision is in line with the Constitution.
Comments Darius Raulušaitis, counsel representing the client: “The constitutional court decision will be very important for the application of criminal law as regards sentences for serious and very serious crimes. If the decision is favourable to our client, similar claims may be made in other cases as well. In addition, the law should be changed and the ban on suspended terms of imprisonment for persons convicted of serious and very serious crimes should be removed from the Criminal Code. In any case, the state should have no interest in imprisoning citizens who pose no threat and who are guilty of negligence.”
Our team working on the case
Partner Kęstutis Švirinas and counsel Darius Raulušaitis prepared the claim and are representing the client before the Constitutional Court.