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Bfv. II. 25/2009/5

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Court/Judicial body::Hungarian Supreme Court
Date:July 2, 2009
Instrument(s) cited:Act IV of 1978 on the Criminal Code (Art. 195: Abuse of a child); Ministerial Decree 18/1998. (VI.3.) on the prevention of epidemics (Art. 5(2)(e) and (g): Mandatory vaccinations; Art. 14(1): Obligation to vaccinate)

Case summary

After refusing to have their child vaccinated for fear of negative health consequences, both of the child’s parents were sentenced to imprisonment for child abuse. The parents appealed this conviction to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court acquitted the parents of the charges against them.  The Court found that although the parents’ decision not to vaccinate their child contravened the law, it cannot be considered a crime. Excerptsas translated by CRIN:”Under Art. 195(1) of the Criminal Code “a person who is given custody of a minor to nurture and take care of the child, and who seriously violates the obligations arising from such duty and thereby endangers the physical, intellectual or moral development of the minor, is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment between one to five years.” In order to commit the crime, the child’s physical development has to be indeed endangered. In the present case, the danger consists of two elements: (1) the lack of immunity and (2) the real possibility of being infected with a preventable disease. However, the chance of being infected is extremely low in the modern society. Therefore, it cannot be assessed that the child is constantly endangered by epidemics. In the interpretation of the Supreme Court, the theoretical possibility in itself should not amount to the conviction of the parents to prison because of child abuse.”

Citation:Bfv. II. 25/2009/5 Hungary CRIN does not accredit or validate any of the organisations listed in our directory. The views and activities of the listed organisations do not necessarily reflect the views or activities of CRIN’s coordination team.

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