Can someone who carries out a robbery be recognized as being afflicted by a mental infirmity, consisting in kleptomania?
The Italian Supreme Court handed down judgment on this interesting criminal case, ruling that although the purpose of the recognizin a complete or partial mental defect may fall within the concept of illness, the symptoms must be of a consistent, intense and serious nature that affect the defendant’s mental capacity and must be causally linked with the defendant’s specific criminal conduct, to the extent that the offense is considered to be causally determined by the latter’s mental disorder (in this sense, Supreme Court judgment dated 8.3.2005, Rago).
It follows therefrom that no importance must be given to other abnormalities or alterations of the personality that do not have the aforementioned characteristics.
What matters, then, is that the defendant’s state of mental disorder is serious, relevant and consistent and, above all, that it has broken the causal link between the defendant’s conduct and the offense committed by the latter.
Returning to the present case, the Supreme Court upheld the judgment handed down by the Court of second instance, which had ruled that – regardless of the relevance or irrelevance of mental disorder – there was no causal link between the disorder defined as mere kleptomania that had given rise to simple and modest thefts and the detailed and complex conduct which occurred in the present case, consisting in breaking and entering the diocesan seminary of Catanzaro, climbing up to the second floor, taking advantage of the absence of people in the military chaplain’s room, subtracting a small amount of money, using violence and causing injury with a view to escaping from the victim who had returned to the room and had surprised the defendant.
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