Court is using double standards for judging the persons charged with illegal possession of weapons. Persons judged for the same offense have received different sentences, among them we can differentiate the case of a person who has been released. Lawyers express their concern that the stricter measures being given for this criminal punishment, is increasing the extent of corruption in the prosecution office and in the court. According to the prosecution, the multiplication of the punishment of the illegal possession of weapons is not affecting the magnitude of this crime, and the consequences of this change will impact mostly the poorest part of the population.
By Avushe Zhuka
Although, the law for illegal possession of weapons has changed by defining severe penalties for those who possess them in public, the court has not hesitated to release people charged with this specific offense. With the changing of the law Article 278/4 of the Penal Code which provides: “The carrying of weapons,.. in vehicles or in any other motorized vehicle, in public or in facilities open to the public without the permission of the competent state bodies, shall be punished with imprisonment from seven to fifteen years. In the decisions issued by the Court of Tirana, we have found that people who were charged for this offense were sentenced to 7 years in prison, and a reduction of a third of their sentence, resulting with 4 years and 8 months in prison. But in one case, the courts of first instance of Tirana has taken the decision to prosecute and release the person and present himself for a period of four years to the Probation Service.
Mr Ardi.Z 33 – year-old was arrested by the police, after seriously threatened the life of another person by trying to hit him with an illegal gun type pistol. The event took place in October 2013 at a bar near the zoo, where the defendant took the weapon and seriously threatened the life of another person. The intervention of a third person, who, fought with him to remove the pistol from his hands, avoided the consequences which could be proven fatal. For this case on March 16, 2014, the court sentenced to seven years, and by merging the sentence to 4 years and 6 months, whereas, in the end ordered the suspension of the remaining time of the sentence to “obliged presence” for a period of four years to the Probation Office.
Criminal Chamber of the Court of Tirana
Court has suspended one of the charges that of the threat to the defendant, that was provided for in Article 84 of the Criminal Code for which he has been pardoned by law. While, for the other criminal offense, the court declared Ardi Z guilty based in Article 59 of the Criminal Code, and has ordered the suspension of the execution of the remaining conviction time, for a test period of four years. Despite the fact, that the author has seriously threatened someone with a weapon, the court in its decision argues that the person has not been convicted previously, and that this person comes from a family with good reputation in the community where he lives.
In contrast, this has not been the case with Gjevalin P. 55 years old, who was caught and arrested in the act in the premises of a casino possessing a weapon. Gjevalin P. has not been sentenced before; also he is the father of four children, while his sick wife gets medical treatment through the help of a charity association. But all these facts were not considered for the former police officer who claimed to not have been acquainted with the law changes for illegal possession of weapons. The court has declared him guilty and sentenced him to seven years in prison, resulting in 4 years and 8 months in prison.
Another case is that of 25 years old Mario L. who, was detained by police after the control of his car, and found a gun. During the trial the defendant and defense lawyer asked the court to take into account that the young man had the will and conscience to surrender the weapon. The defense party urged the panel to consider as valid the detention time conducted by Mario L. client and the suspension of the execution of the sentence in prison for the remaining time and putting in him on a trial period with the condition to not commit other offenses. This requirement has not been taken into consideration for Mario Li who was sentenced by the court to 7 years in prison, and eventually to 4 years and 8 months.
Criminal lawyer Idajet Beqiri
What experts think about the stricter law for illegal possession of weapons, and for the court decisions provided after the changes made to the law. The lawyer Idajet Beqiri, says that “the sentences for illegal possession of weapons have been aggravated so much, that are significantly increasing the degree of corruption by exerting greater pressure on prosecutors and judges, who, often use two standard of judgment and sentence. ” The tightening up of the measures to amend the legislation boosts the level of corruption in the judiciary, resulting in two standard judgments. The rich people deal with the situation, because they can buy court and the prosecution and therefore invalidating the severe punishment measures provided by the penal code. On the other side, the poor are destined to go to prison, even if the court gives the minimum sentence, the changing of the law provides more severe punishment measures. For the same offense, to someone are recognized the mitigating circumstances, such as short court procedure, good family etc, which means that the money and mitigating circumstances go hand in hand” said Beqiri.
According to Mr. Beqiri the fight against this crime is conceived only by placing tougher measures, while in reality there is not any figures which show that stricter measure of punishment has led to lower crime. “The problem of illegal possession of weapons has become a serious concern, being ranked as second crime problem in Albania, after the drug cultivation and trafficking. The worst thing in my opinion is that there is not a serious approach in the fight against this crime. All state structures in crime prevention have conceived war merely by changing the law of illegal possession of weapons, and to decide more severe penalties. Therefore, they think that they by deciding severer measures they are going to prevent this offense “-says lawyer Beqiri.
In his view, this is not the best way to combat this type of crime. “For the crime of illegal possession of weapons, knowing that can be a cause and “force ” against the person , life, health, accident, injury, threat and steal of wealth, the measures that the state should take should not only be focused on the severity of the penalty provision for illegal possession of weapons. There is a need for complex of measures, such as an efficient organization and control of the whole territory, of all people, and the situation in the country. This relates to the problem of controlling of the territory. How do these weapons enter in Albania? We have found out that most of the weapons used in committing crimes are more sophisticated, and they come from outside the country, and there are not consequences of the year 97. In this case both police and prosecution are hiding and blame the weapons taken during the year 1997. Here we are dealing with lack of control of territory and the weapons are caught only when another crime, murder, injury, threat or theft, have been conducted “declares Beqiri
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