Criminal liability in Spain

Criminal liability in Spain

Criminal liability of people with mental disorders


Schizophrenia does not in itself deprive a person of his intellectual and volitive capacity.

The Spanish Supreme Court did not take into account the mental disorder as a circumstance precluding liability (article 20.1 of the Spanish Criminal Code) in the notorious case of the “meat grinder from Majadahonda” who suffered from schizophrenia, according to doctors.

The Spanish Supreme Court usually takes into account paranoid schizophrenia as a circumstance that precludes or at least limits the criminal liability, but not in this case.

The crime occurred in 2015, although the defendant began preparation in 2008, when he bought an industrial meat grinder “Braher P-22”, which he used to dismember his aunt and another woman whom he killed in the basement of his house, in order to cover up his crime. Because of this, he became known as the “meat grinder from Majadahonda,” and was sentenced to 27 years in jail.

At the trial, it was proved that the defendant had already undergone hospital treatment between 2012 and 2014 due to outbreaks of acute delirium caused by paranoid schizophrenia. However, this did not prevent the Supreme Court from dismissing the cassation appeal, in which the lawyers alleged the incomplete exculpatory circumstance, in accordance with Article 20.1 of the Spanish Criminal Code. From the verdict of the Spanish Supreme Court of October 9, 2018, it follows that paranoid schizophrenia does not in itself deprive a person of his intellectual and volitive capacity, although this may occur during delusional flashes. The Court confirmed the thesis of a premeditated murder in view of the fact that preparations for the crime and its cover up were carried out by the defendant over a long period of time. Taking into account the fact of a thorough preparation of the crime, the hypothesis that the defendant was not aware of his actions did not seem plausible to the Court.

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