Russia: Having a Cat Child Brings a Suspended Sentence

According to Mash, a 48-year-old man in the city of Kemerovo was charged with hooliganism and illegal possession of firearms in September after attacking a person while drunk. The man also threatened his victim with a gun, the police report said, without revealing his identity. The arrested suspect cooperated with the investigation, pleaded guilty and was eventually brought to court. The judge found the defendant guilty on all charges. Some of these charges carried a prison sentence of more than five years. However, the court imposed a suspended sentence, citing various mitigating circumstances, including the defendant's poor health, his cooperation with law enforcement and the fact that he had a cat waiting for him at home. According to local media reports following the verdict, cat ownership has never before been considered a mitigating circumstance in Russian criminal law. Defendants could only be granted a certain degree of leniency if they had children or relatives to support. In a criminal case in the Siberian region of Russia, the court decided to suspend the defendant's sentence and listed "cat ownership" as one of the mitigating circumstances. According to the Mash Telegram channel, this is a first in the country's judicial practice.


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