Jurisprudence Criminal Law

Aberratio Ictus

Can A Wrongful Act Done Differently From That Which is Intended Incur Criminal Liability?

In “aberratio ictus” or mistake in the blow, a person directed the blow at an intended victim, but because of poor aim, that blow landed on somebody else. The intended victim as well as the actual victim are both at the scene of the crime.

In the People vs. Flora case, when Hermogenes Flora first fired his gun at Ireneo, but missed, and hit Emerita Roma and Flor Espinas instead, he became liable for Emerita’s death and Flor’s injuries. Hermogenes cannot escape culpability on the basis of aberratio ictus principle. Criminal liability is incurred by any person committing a felony, although the wrongful act be different from that which he intended.

Note, however, that when a person intended the commission of several felonies with a single act, it is not called aberratio ictus or mistake of blow, simply because there was no mistake in the commission of crime.

People vs. Flora, G.R. No. 125909, June 23, 2000

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