site.btaFinal Supreme Court of Cassation Ruling Confirms Briton Kenneth Smith to Serve Sentence for Domestic Violence Murder in 2021
By Decision No. 281/19.07.2023 on Criminal Case No. 989/2022, a three-member panel of the Supreme Court of Cassation (SCC) upheld Appeal Decision No. 90/28.10.2022, rendered in Appeal Case No. 158/2022 on the records of the Burgas Court of Appeal, the SCC announced on Thursday. The decision is not subject to appeal.
The case was instituted on a cassation appeal of the defendant Kenneth Smith from Great Britain against the appeal decision of 28.10.2022 of the Burgas Court of Appeal, by which the first instance verdict of 01.06.2022 of the Burgas District Court was fully confirmed. By it the defendant was found guilty and sentenced for the crime under Article 116 (1) of the Criminal Code (murder of a 49-year-old woman, committed under conditions of domestic violence and with particular cruelty), and was sentenced to 17 years' imprisonment, with an initial strict regime of execution.
The cassation appeal put forward arguments of material breaches of procedural rules, breaches of substantive law and manifest injustice of the penalty imposed. It requested that the judgment of the Burgas Court of Appeal be set aside and the case be referred back to the appellate court for reconsideration. Alternatively, it requested that the judgment be amended by applying the law for the less serious offence or by reducing the amount of the penalty.
According to the three-member panel of the SCC, the alleged substantive violations of procedural rules and substantive law were not committed. Nor is there any ground for manifest injustice of the penalty imposed.
The Supreme Court judges considered the facts established in the case as a whole to be uncontradictory, taking into account the self-confession made by the perpetrator, which led to the conclusion that their different interpretation was not possible. The appellate instance has made an independent reading of the facts of the case and has analysed each circumstance in detail, including those contested by the defence. There was no procedural irregularity in the examination of the case which would lead to the conclusion that there were any essential procedural irregularities limiting the rights of the defence of the defendant, which, moreover, could be remedied by a retrial. The procedural rights of the defendant are fully guaranteed, as he was provided with a professional defence and an interpreter at all stages of the proceedings. The collection and examination of the evidence did not reveal any significant defects which might affect the defendant's constitutionally guaranteed rights.