The thief entered the house in the middle of the night to steal chickens, was scared to death by the owner of the house set off firecrackers, and then the thief’s family claimed 500,000 yuan from the owner of the house, and after the court heard the case, the verdict was very happy…
Review of the case
Sun, who lives in a rural village in Nanyang City, Henan Province, takes care of his 3-year-old daughter at home alone. In order to make a living, Sun’s husband Liu went to work abroad, and from the birth of his daughter to the crime, Liu has been working outside for three years.
During this period, only when you return from the Spring Festival will you be reunited with your family. In a few days, he will say goodbye to his wife and daughter and go to another country.
In addition to taking care of his daughter at home, Sun will also grow vegetables and raise some poultry in his spare time. The careful Sun found in the process of raising chickens that he always missed a few chickens for no reason.
Because Sun’s family lives at the head of the village and is far away from other neighbors, this also makes Sun more worried, and she is afraid that she will be alone. To this end, Sun had to call her husband Liu, and after Liu heard this, he first comforted Sun, and then suggested that Sun bring her parents’ dog over to watch over the nursing home.
One night at about 12 o’clock, Sun was woken up by the barking of a dog. When she got up to check, she saw a dark shadow in the courtyard. When Sun was about to take out his mobile phone to call the police, the black shadow seemed to notice Sun and quickly climbed out of the wall to leave.
Sun, who had not slept all night, got up early the next morning to check and found that there were 4 chickens missing, which made her feel distressed. Sun was ready to call the police, but she had no evidence of who stole it, and in desperation, she contacted Liu again. Liu, who is far away, will not be able to go back for a while, and there is no good way. The couple can only hold on to the illusion that the thief will not come again.
After thinking about it for a few days, Sun was going to buy some firecrackers and put them at home. If the thief “patronizes” again, then she “entertains” the other party with firecrackers.
For the next few nights, Sun was worried every day, taking care of his children while guarding against thieves. After half a month, when Sun slept at night, he heard the family dog barking again. Sure enough, another black shadow appeared in the courtyard, and Sun didn’t think much about taking out the firecrackers he bought, lit them and threw them in the yard.
As the lead slowly burned, the firecrackers crackled in the courtyard, and even distant neighbors were alarmed, and several people said they heard the sound of firecrackers.
After the firecrackers were fired, Sun did not dare to go to the yard to check, thinking that the thief should have run away, and then returned to the bedroom to sleep.
Early the next morning, when Sun went to the chicken shed to get eggs, he saw a person lying inside, which startled Sun. She shouted a few times and found that the other party did not respond, so she quickly took her mobile phone and called the police.
After the police arrived at the scene, they identified the deceased, a villager from the village next door. According to the on-site investigation, the deceased was named Hu, because Hu still had chicken feathers on his hands, and the footprints matched the footprints in Ms. Sun’s chicken pen, combined with Sun’s confession, it can be determined that Hu appeared here to steal the chickens in Sun’s family.
According to the investigation afterwards, Hu took several chickens home beforehand, which coincided with the time when Sun said he lost the chickens. Hu’s family also knew that Hu went out in the middle of the night to steal chickens, but his family did not stop Hu.
It was later determined that Hu suffered from heart disease and died of excessive fright. This just confirms Sun’s confession. In the end, the police identified the incident as an accident.
Originally thought that this matter was over, Liu also temporarily went home to accompany Sun for a few days because of such a thing. Who knew that Hu’s family did not adhere to the unforgiveness and took Sun to court, not only claiming 500,000 yuan, but also pursuing Sun’s criminal responsibility.
In this case, what crime does Hu’s behavior constitute? Should Sun bear criminal liability and civil liability?
1. What crime does Hu’s behavior constitute?
Article 264 of the Criminal Code
Whoever steals public or private property, a relatively large amount, or commits multiple thefts or burglaries at home, shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not more than three years, criminal detention or surveillance, and shall be fined concurrently or alone.
Hu sneaked into Sun’s home many times, and according to statistics, stole a total of more than 10 chickens, constituting the crime of theft. The penalty shall be fixed-term imprisonment of not more than three years, criminal detention or surveillance.
Article 16 of the Code of Criminal Procedure
In any of the following circumstances, criminal responsibility is not pursued, and where it has already been pursued, the case shall be dismissed and acquitted: (5) The criminal suspect or defendant dies.
Hu died, so he was not investigated for criminal responsibility.
2. Does Sun’s behavior constitute manslaughter?
Constituent elements of negligent death: there must be negligent acts, subjectively negligent in the result of death.
In this case, Sun and Hu did not know each other in advance, nor did they know that the other had a heart attack. Sun’s act of setting off firecrackers was only out of defense to stop others from illegally infringing on himself, so it did not constitute the crime of manslaughter.
The law stipulates that for a legitimate defense to be constituted, five conditions need to be met at the same time:
1. Cause conditions: illegal infringement of reality;
2. Time conditions: illegal infringement is ongoing;
3. Subjective conditions: have a sense of defense;
4. Target conditions: defense against aggressors;
5. Limit conditions: do not obviously exceed the necessary limit.
Back to this case, the reality of illegal infringement exists (Hu entered the house to steal other people’s property), when he encountered Sun’s dog barking, Hu did not stop his illegal infringement (ongoing), Sun’s act of setting off firecrackers had a sense of defense, only aimed at Hu, and did not obviously exceed the necessary limit. Therefore, Sun’s actions constituted legitimate defense.
3. After hearing the case, the court rejected the claim of Hu’s family
The court held that Sun used firecrackers to stop the other party’s criminal act by throwing firecrackers in the process of Hu’s criminal act, in order to protect his property and personal safety, and Sun’s behavior was a legitimate defense.
Hu’s sudden death due to fright was caused by his own illness, and there was no legal causal relationship between him and Sun’s behavior, so Sun did not need to bear criminal liability or bear civil compensation.
In the end, the Nanyang Intermediate Court rejected the unreasonable claims of Hu’s family.
The judge handling the case did not allow the unhealthy trend of “who dies is justified” to spread, and safeguarded judicial fairness and justice.
What do you think about this case?