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Seven Years

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STOCKHOLM (Rixstep) — Sweden's Chancellor for Justice Anna Skarhed has ruled on compensation for a preliminary investigation that took seven years to get shut down.

A police preliminary investigation that takes more than seven years is a violation of human rights, says Sweden's chancellor of justice Anna Skarhed. The man previously under suspicion is awarded $9,500.

A man was arrested on 12 April 2005 under suspicion of aggravated tax crimes, aggravated bookkeeping crimes, and aggravated obstruction of tax control. Three days later he was arraigned on probable cause.

The arraignment was quashed after a month, but the preliminary investigation was closed only on 2 November 2012 - more than seven years later. Some allegations had reached their statute of limitations and the remaining allegations lacked sufficient evidence.

The man demanded compensation for $3,500 for pain and suffering, and $4,750 for loss of income.

He also asked the state for $15,000 in further damages, $3.4 million for damage to his corporation, and $21,000 for expenses for consultation with psychologists and psychiatrists.

In his application to chancellor Anna Skarhed, the man described how deprivation of liberty and the long investigation caused much suffering. He developed symptoms of mental illness, his reputation in his home town was compromised, and he found it difficult to recruit new staff to his company.

Chancellor for justice Anna Skarhed established that the man has a right to $3,500 in compensation for the suffering caused by deprivation of liberty.

But she will not grant him compensation for loss of income because she claims she hasn't seen a proper report on his losses.

Chancellor Skarhed admits that the investigation took too long. The state had thereby been guilty of wrongdoing or negligence according to pertinent law, and the man is entitled to compensation for personal injury and loss of income.

Skarhed writes further that the long investigation is not per se a violation of integrity, something which would otherwise entitle him to further compensation. But she does admit that he is to receive compensation because the long investigation violated his right to a speedy trial per the European Convention.

Damages are thereby set to $4,750.

Loss to the man's corporation is not compensated. Chancellor Skarhed refers to the fact that this loss is but an indirect result of the man's situation, and as such should not be compensated.

But Skarhed insists the man was entitled to compensation for costs for his visits to psychologists and psychiatrists, including travel expenses.

The man had cited costs in the amount of $21,500; Chancellor Skarhed awards him a mere $1,200, writing that the costs were somewhat caused by the long investigation, but that the man should have chosen less expensive doctors and tried to find those doctors in his own home town, rather than undertaking expensive travel for help.

And Skarhed says the hourly fees for those psychologists and psychiatrists were just too high.

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Dagens Juridik: Förundersökning lades ner efter sju år - kränkning av mänskliga rättigheter

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