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Supreme Court of Denmark

Sentencing and expulsion of a minor in case of assault involving a knife 

Case no. 68/2019

Judgment delivered on 28 October 2019

The Prosecution Service

A serious and unmotivated assault against a 14-year-old committed by T and several others, where T, among other things, stabbed the victim three times, led to the imposition of a concurrent sentence of imprisonment for three years and six months. Permanent expulsion not in contravention of Denmark's international obligations

T, a now 17-year-old Pakistani national who had come to Denmark when he was about eight years old, had been found guilty by the District Court and the High Court under Section 245(1), cf. Section 247(1), of the Danish Penal Code for having kicked and punched a 14-year-old boy together with several other offenders, just as he stabbed the victim three times with a knife in, among other places, the chest region, thereby putting his life in danger. At the time of the assault, T was almost 16 years old, and it was committed less than two months after T was convicted of a crime of a similar nature. The case before the Supreme Court concerned the determination of the penalty and the issue of expulsion.

T had lived in Pakistan for about half his life and had gone to school there for a few years. He had resided legally in Denmark for about eight years, where he attended school and lived with his mother and sister. As T’s father was a British citizen, and T had been granted a permanent residence permit in Denmark, he could be expelled if this was in line with the EU Residence Directive and Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Referring to the grounds cited by the High Court, the Supreme Court agreed to the concurrent sentence of imprisonment for three years and six months, considering, among other things, the increase of the sentence in 2018. With regard to the expulsion of T, the Supreme Court agreed that, considering T’s criminal conduct, there was a substantial risk that he would continue to commit serious assaults in Denmark if he was not expelled. The Supreme Court further agreed that T’s conduct constituted a genuine, present and sufficiently serious threat affecting the fundamental interests of society, and that expulsion was in the interest of public order or security. Also, T was deemed to be able to fit into life in Pakistan.

Based on a proportionality assessment, the Supreme Court held that permanent expulsion of T would not infringe his rights under the EU Residence Directive, Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights or Article 7 of the EU Charter, and hence was not contrary to Denmark’s international obligations.

The Supreme Court, thus, reached the same conclusion as the High Court.

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