Source of the case: Precedent No. 30/2020/AL, which was passed by the Council of Judges of the Supreme People’s Court on February 5, 2020 and published under Decision 50/QD-CA of the Chief Justice of the Supreme People’s Court dated February 25, 2020, is in relation to the Appellate Judgment No. 280/2019/HSPT of the Supreme People’s Court in Hanoi dated May 16, 2019 on the “Murder” case against the defendant Phan Dinh Q (“Precedent 30”).

Overview of the case: After causing a traffic accident, the defendant stopped the truck to check the victim placed under the truck, but he could not determine whether the victim was alive or dead. Then, the defendant continued to drive the vehicle over the victim and caused an immediate death of the victim.

Specifically:

Phan Dinh Q drove a 6-ton truck on National Highway 1A, traveling in the same direction as Hoang Duc P riding an electric motorbike on a pedestrian road and rudimentary vehicles. Q’s truck made a sudden right turn without observing carefully and collided with P’s motorbike. After the collision, Q stopped the truck and checked P placed behind his truck.  After checking on P, Q got on the truck and drove over P, causing a brain fracture to P which caused an immediate death to him.

The defendant Q was brought to a criminal trial at first instance at the People’s Court of Ky Anh district, Ha Tinh province on the charge of “violating regulations on control of road vehicles” in accordance with Article 202 of the Criminal Code No. 15/1999/QH10 amended and supplemented in 2009 (“Criminal Code 1999”).

However, after the interrogation at the trial, the Trial Panel of the People’s Court of Ky Anh District ruled that Q’s act amounts to “murder” and returned the case to The People’s Procuracy of Ky Anh district. The Trial Panel’s conclusion was based on the following factors:

  • After driving a truck, it caused an accident for Hoang Duc P, he came down to check to see that the victim P was caught in the truck’s chassis and was lying in front of the truck wheel is dangerous, however,
  • Q did not keep the scene and not tried to take the victim out of the truck to be taken to emergency, and
  • He continued to drive forward and accepted passing through the victim lying under the truck.
  • As the result, Hoang Duc P was hit by a wheel behind the truckand died at that moment.

At the appellate trial, the defendant Q continued to protest against the charges that he did not commit murder, but only “Violating the regulations on the control of road vehicles”.

The content of Precedent 30 is as follows:

The following paragraphs are extracted from the Precedent 30 which well explain the court’s reasoning for ruling of murder charge:

[4] The appellate trial panel found that: the defendant Phan Dinh Q’s was aware that after the collision, the truck’s wheel had not been completely overridden on that person’s head and the victim lying motionless; … he also was aware that at that time, vehicle was moving forward or backward, it would be very dangerous, it would have overridden the victim; however, he still accepted to let the truck over the victim.

[5] The appellate trial panel has sufficient grounds to assert: Defendant Q had committed a “Murder” offense as decided by Ha Tinh People’s Court of the first instance Court of Ha Tinh which is the legal basis.

Therefore, the appellate Court upheld the “murder” charge against the accused as decided by the first-instance court.” Phan Dinh Q was sentenced to 13 (thirteen) years and 6 (six) months imprisonment in accordance with Clause 2, Article 93 and Point b, Clause 1, Clause 2, Article 46 of the Criminal Code 1999.

According to many legal experts, the promulgation of Precedent No. 30 is necessary in the context of traffic accidents causing social pain, especially many accidents are considered as intentional driving causing death to the victims to avoid long-term compensation. However, to determine the true crime of “murder”, it is required to base the ruling on convincing evidence. The Precedent 30 will be a useful guidance for road accident intentionally causing death or injuries in the future.


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