Acta Universitatis Danubius. Juridica, Vol 14, No 1 (2018)

Criminal offence of murder committed in a state of severe mental distress

Fejzullah Hasani


Murder committed in a state of severe mental distress, is a criminal offence against life and body and falls into the group of privileged murders, for the fact that due to the circumstances in which the criminal offence is committed the lawmaker has privileged the perpetrators by foreseeing the lowest punishment for this form of murder, compared to ordinary or aggravated murders. This form of murder is regulated in various ways, some legislations have given it a privileged character by specifying it as a criminal offense of murder in privileged circumstances, with different names, while other legislations did not foresee it as a specific murder, but when the criminal offense was committed in such privileged circumstances, the law provided for the possibility to consider this circumstance as mitigating-when  weighing up the sentence- and  impose a more lenient punishment to the perpetrator. Regarding this type of murder, often there are various dilemmas in court practice in relation to the elements of this murder, regards the state of severe mental distress and the acts by which the perpetrator behaves in such a psychic state, such as: attack, serious insult and maltreatment. In the various court practices regarding this criminal offense, there were excessive discussions and divergences about the instant, namely that the murder has that status only if committed immediately, after the assault, insult, maltreatment, or even if there is a break in time between these actions and the murder.  The purpose of this paper is to determine the elements of this criminal offense, why this criminal offense, what circumstances make it privileged, and how court practice approaches this type of murder.


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