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'Your Place or Mine'

A case study of Swedish judicial procedure.


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KALMAR (Rixstep) — The man asked two teenage boys if they wanted to have group sex with him. They declined, whereupon he asked again. According to the prosecutor, asking these questions made the man guilty of sexual molestation, and he was consequently charged.

But now he's been acquitted by both a lower court and an appeals court.

Kalmar

The 48yo [no name given, that's not allowed in Sweden, only in the Assange case] was arraigned before the Kalmar district court for sexual molestation.

'The accused has molested the complainants, in a way that can be expected to violate their sexual integrity, by on several occasions asking if they wanted to go to his place and have group sex in exchange for food, spirits, and cigarettes.'

The Party

A group of teenagers were having a party in a municipal locale when the 48yo arrived. As to what happened after that, the accounts differ.

The two complainants say the 48yo asked them several times if they wanted to go to his place and have group sex in exchange for food, spirits, and cigarettes.

The testimony of the one boy is given in the verdict.

'The accused said it was cold riding on a moped and explained that his home was only five minutes away. He said they could go to his place and have group sex. It felt funny because the accused said this so matter-of-factly. They told him that they didn't want to go to his place, whereupon the accused asked them again.'

The 48yo says that this is a lie and that he'd actually been denying requests for spirits and cigarettes, and that's why they got angry with him. And the 48yo also says that no one spoke about sex at all.

Not Indecent Enough

The Kalmar district court found no reason to doubt the boys' testimony and ruled, over the man's objection, that he had done what they claimed. But the court found that what the man said was not indecent enough to be deemed criminal, or that he had intended to violate the boys' sexual integrity.

The district court wrote in their decision.

'The preparatory work for this passage in the law states that the circumstance that a man or woman says things with a clear sexual content, directed at another person, does not necessarily mean a case of sexual molestation. What is required is that the sexual nature of the things said shall lead one to conclude that the suspect has, with those words, behaved in a blatantly indecent manner.

'The defendant is therefore acquitted.'

The Göta appeals court upheld the verdict, and declared it proven that the man had in fact, on two occasions, asked the boys about group sex, but no other sexual innuendoes took place, and one of the boys testified that the man was in a 'good mood'.

The boys say they found the situation uncomfortable, but there is nothing to indicate the man was in any way unpleasant.

The appeals court states that not all things said of a sexual nature need be sexual molestation, and that such molestation is normally a question of more aggravated verbal infringements.

Be Careful with Those Verbal Infringements!

What the man said, according to the appeals court, had been intended to violate the boys' sexual integrity. His proposal had also been directed at youths who'd just reached the age of sexual autonomy, something the court found concerning.

The appeals court wrote in their decision.

'But the court nevertheless found that, against the background of the caution that should be shown in assessing culpability in cases of verbal infringement, that this has not been a matter of sexual molestation as per chapter 6, § 10, 2nd paragraph of the criminal code.

'The defendant is therefore acquitted.'

But two magistrates - a professional judge and a fully educated apprentice substitute - disagreed, and wanted to convict because the 48yo had, after once hearing the boys' refusal, asked them again.

'Hey what a cold night! No time to be riding around on a moped! Hey what do you say we all go to my place! It's only five minutes from here. We can have group sex, and I got food and booze and cigs!'

'Uh no thanks. We're just going to go home. Thanks anyway. Cya.'

'Are you sure? My place is only five minutes away. And it's fucking cold out here!'

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