The scope of exemption for "humanitarian assistance" in section 108 subsection 6 of the Immigration Act

​Supreme Court judgment 1 September 2021, HR-2021-1774-A, (case no. 21-062245STR-HRET), criminal case, appeal against judgment. 

A (Counsel Halvard Helle) v. The Public Prosecution Authority (Counsel Erik Førde)

Justices: Skoghøy, Falkanger, Noer, Bergsjø, Ringnes

A person accused of violation of section 108 subsection 4 (a), cf. section 15, of the Immigration Act had let two foreign nationals with illegal residence in Norway stay at his place for three days. The Supreme Court found, unlike the Court of Appeal, that this had to be considered humanitarian assistance, and that the exemption from criminal liability in section 108 subsection 6 of the Immigration Act was therefore applicable. The Court found that "humanitarian assistance" could be described as selfless help to cover physical necessities of life and related human needs, and that housing was an example of assistance covered by the exemption. Friendly services could also be considered humanitarian assistance, as opposed to what the Court of Appeal had found. The fact that the two could have reported to their respective asylum centres and stayed there, which the Court of Appeal had emphasised, was not decisive.The Court of Appeal's conviction of violation of section 108 subsection 4 (a) of the Immigration Act was set aside. The penalty for making use of a foreign national's labour for some hours, see section 108 subsection 3 (a), and for storing 1 400 uncustomed cigarettes was set at a fine of NOK 30 000. 

Read the whole judgment (Norwegian only)

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