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The highest level of justice is achieved through the clemency process
aprill 24, 2024

WIDEN Latvia’s client was held criminally liable pursuant to Article 148 of the Criminal Law of the Republic of Latvia for infringing the copyright of a computer program by storing it.

Less than six months after the judgment of conviction against WIDEN Latvia’s client came into force, the Supreme Court of the Republic of Latvia, Department of Criminal Cases, published a decision on its website. This decision did not reference the change in case law. The cassation instance acknowledged that storing a computer program on a computer, including not deleting its trial versions from the computer system after the expiration of the term specified in the license agreement, does not constitute a reproduction of the computer program. Therefore, it is not recognized as an infringement of copyright or related rights under Article 148 of the Criminal Law of the Republic of Latvia. 

WIDEN Latvia, establishing that in a democratic legal state, it’s not a permissible  situation where in one criminal case the storage of a computer program electronically is considered copyright infringement under Article 148 of the Criminal Law of the Republic of Latvia, and the person is held criminally liable, while in another case, the storage of a computer program on a computer itself is not considered reproduction of the computer program and is not recognized as a criminal offense, applied to the President of the Republic of Latvia, Mr. Edgars Rinkēvičs, a request for clemency, asking for the setting aside of WIDEN Latvia’s client’s criminal record.

The basis of the request was the consideration that the rulings of the Criminal Department of the Supreme Court of Republic of Latvia include a diametrically opposite understanding of the concept of “reproduction of computer programs” in relation to the storage of computer programs. 

WIDEN Latvia emphasized that in a situation where diametrically opposite interpretation is accepted by the Supreme Court of Republic of Latvia based on a different understanding of the concept of “reproduction of computer programs,” injustice is clearly established.

Considering that the aim of clemency is to achieve a higher level of justice after the entry into force of the court’s judgment, only through the clemency process, by setting aside criminal record, could be corrected an obvious injustice committed against WIDEN Latvia’s client.

According to the information published on the website of the President’s Office on April 23, 2024, President of the Republic of Latvia, Mr. Edgars Rinkēvičs considered requests for clemency for nine convicted persons in total, of which seven requests for clemency were rejected.

However, when considering the request for clemency of WIDEN Latvia’s client, the President acknowledged that there is an objective basis for its satisfaction, as a result of which, on April 23, 2024, the President issued a favorable decision of clemency for WIDEN Latvia’s client by setting aside the client’s criminal record. 

For more than 10 years, the WIDEN Latvia has been providing a wide range of legal assistance, including in criminal proceedings and related matters.

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