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The Case of the Forged Engagement Rings
Another look at Sweden's incredibly wacky judicial system.
Kristinn, MarksLarks, Jen-Rob, Geoffrey QC: you're all saying Jules can't have a fair trial in Sweden. You don't know how right you are. Stick to your guns. Get a full-time translator to go over those Flashback posts and see what you can find. Everything's well documented there. But if you don't look then no one will ever know and the British courts won't know either. Things are a lot worse than you could ever imagine.
All the while Swedish Pirate Party techie Richie Olsson is in there right now trying his best to convince people that trials behind closed doors yield better justice and a better appearance of justice than public ones. 'The details of the trial would leak out anyway', argues Olsson, 'so Assange's people shouldn't be disappointed with the closed doors.'
Blekinge Condos Bring Big Bucks
There was a case a few years back in 'Sweden's orchard' - Blekinge Sweden - that shows just how bad things can turn out. It's 'The Case of the Forged Engagement Rings'.
A girl shared a rental flat with her boyfriend. She found out their landlord was thinking of turning the block of flats into a condo complex. She got herself elected to the board of tenants who handled the deal. She stood to make several hundred thousand cold hard dollars in the snap of her fingers once the deal took place. There was only one catch - the boyfriend with whom she shared the flat from Day One. She didn't want to share her good fortune with the man she'd slept beside all those years. Heck no.
So she went out and bought a diary and began writing lots of nasty salacious things in it. A bit like Steinbeck's East of Eden perhaps but more like Carina Rydberg's crazed stories. Except she was stupid and dated all the entries wrong - a full year too far back in time. No matter: the district court convicted her boyfriend of abuse anyway, sentenced him to five years in prison, and she got to sell the flat by herself and rake in those big bucks all for herself. Yum.
Except the man's attorney smelled a rat. He appealed. There was something with the story that didn't match up. His client was engaged to the girl and they had engagement rings engraved with the date '12 March 2002'. That didn't match up with the girl's diary entries. Uh-oh.
So the girl went into Blekinge and found a goldsmith who could make two new engagement rings. She had the goldsmith backdate the engraving to '12 March 2001' instead - this would match her diary better. Done deal.
District prosecutor Margaretha Lewenhagen who handled both the lower court and the appeals court cases must be a real jewel. She was called as a witness by both the defendant and the state. Yes it's very confusing.
What did she say when questioned by the man's attorney? 'The woman was believable! She behaved the way all abused women do in situations like that! Then of course she had her DIARY - and that was all the evidence we needed!'
The mind boggles. And an innocent man gets sent off to prison for five years. So the woman sleeping next to him all those years can make a few quick hundred thousand.
Chief prosecutor Tommy Clevenhult was perplexed. 'I've been searching our law books', he said. 'And two of my prosecutors have been searching online. But we haven't found anything like it.'
Clevenhult confronted the woman and got her to admit she'd made the whole thing up. Sort of.
'I don't know why I did that', the woman said. 'I was feeling mentally ill. I didn't know what I was doing.'
Yeah right. But she didn't give up on her diary, insisting everything there was true - even though she'd been incorrectly dating her entries for a full year. 'I guess I got the dates wrong', she told the chief prosecutor.
She ordered the fake rings, she said, so no one would believe she'd been lying. Poor thing.
District magistrate Conny Jörneklint asked district prosecutor Margaretha Lewenhagen if she thought the man was guilty or not.
'It's not my business to think anything', Lewenhagen told him. 'I can only pursue cases I can prove.'
But Lewenhagen did admit after the fact that she thought the woman's story and diary had the 'feel' of something the woman would have really experienced. That's evidently all the 'proof' needed in a Swedish court of today.
A policeman also testified and said he had a clear idea of what the truth was, despite understanding the woman had been lying and was found out to have fabricated evidence.
'I think she's been victimised by what the man was convicted of in the lower court', he said. 'But because the appeals court overturned the verdict, we can't bring charges again. He's free. His girlfriend will have to wait a month for her sentence.'
Nothing to worry about.
The police had gone into Blekinge too, trying to find the goldsmith the man's attorney suspected had made the forged rings. Sure enough, they found him. He told the police that the woman had been there only weeks earlier to order the rings.
Let's Make a Deal
So what's the deal then? The law says bringing false charges or false evidence gets punished on the same scale used for the alleged crime. So the woman could (should) have been sentenced to five years in prison. What did Tommy Clevenhult do?
'Well actually I was going to ask for six months in prison because that was a serious crime. But then I got thinking - such a poor young girl in prison? And now she's got a two year old son with her former boyfriend? So I asked for a suspended sentence instead.'
Clevenhult had previously prosecuted the man for abuse not only of the woman but of their child. The man had been denied custody and visitation rights ever since. Now he might get things back in order but he'll still have to deal with a woman who had nothing against putting him away for a quick financial condo killing.
And the woman gets off scot-free.
'These cases follow a strict template', writes 'espressino' at Flashback. 'We see this in custody battles and divorces. The woman tells a story which must not be questioned. The woman fakes a diary, orders two new engagement rings to support her story, the man is consequently sentenced to five years in prison.'
Don't come back, Jules. Kristinn, MarksLarks, Jen-Rob, Geoffrey? Take this one as high as you can go. Jules can't get justice in Sweden. Nobody can.
The Swedish judicial system isn't one that easily or readily distinguishes between hard evidence and circumstantial evidence, often relying as above on 'gut feelings' or supposed 'proof' like the concocted diary which can't corroborate evidence from a third party. But in sexual assault cases things get worse still.
Succumbing to intense pressure from feminist organisations, the Swedish supreme court handed down a series of 'guidelines' to the lower courts in the early 1990s so the system would still be able to convict without a single shred of evidence. The guidelines are as follows: a guilty verdict in a sexual assault case can be rendered if the following conditions are met.
- The claimant's (the woman's) story is 'believable'.
- The woman does not later modify any 'crucial' parts of her testimony.
- The claimant (the woman) is not less believable than the defendant (the man). They can be equally believable - the 'he said/she said' scenario - but that doesn't matter: it's what the woman says that counts.
- There's no readily apparent reason why the woman could conceivably be lying.
No other criteria are needed. No other criteria can be required. The courts can't demand third party testimony or hard forensic evidence. Verdicts are based solely on the word of the woman alone. Period.
The number of false accusations is continually on the rise, says espressino, as is the number of cases overturned because the woman was proven to have been lying or the woman finally admits she made the whole thing up.
Statistically Sweden falls behind only Lesotho South Africa in per capita rape cases - not at all because there are so many rapes in Sweden but because there are so many fake cases in a system where breathing the wrong way can be a crime. Rape is still an 'outdoor' crime in South Africa whilst it's almost always indoors in Sweden.
The Swedish word for rape - våldtäkt - is a connective word of two others: våld + täkt where våld is the generic word for 'violence'. Yet violence occurs very rarely in Swedish so-called rape cases. Swedish rape cases are mostly about someone (some woman) claiming she was in some way 'kränkt' without violence. None of the allegations against Julian Assange involve violence in any way.
And they couldn't either: suggest there was violence and the court will demand to see the results of a forensic examination. And then the whole charade will blow sky-wide. Thank goodness for Swedish sex laws.
Swedish judicial history is overflowing with astoundingly dumb cases where real justice is served only after years of feminist hysteria. The original 'cult case' that became the basis of Eva Lundgren's 'research'; the 'Bjästa' case; the da Costa case; and so forth. Sweden doesn't need any Julian Assange to make the country a complete ass of itself. There's already more than enough without him.
And combing the forums at Flashback yields dozens upon dozens of documented cases of Sweden's incredibly wacky judicial system. You don't have to bind a suspect to a crime in Sweden as in other countries. Christer Pettersson was convicted of the assassination of prime minister Olof Palme without the police ever producing the murder weapon and without ever being able to suggest a likely motive.
The verdict was overturned in a higher court; but what do you expect of a district court where only one magistrate in four has any legal background and the other three are political appointees?
How can a country seriously deign to serve justice when their judges are not only political appointees but say themselves they're going to rule according to their party lines? Where a walloping 63% of those judges answer incorrectly on tests of even the most basic jurisprudence? What kind of legal system is that?
Assange enters the High Court in three months. The British Supreme Court can hear the case again in the autumn if necessary. And Geoffrey Robertson has long ago expressed a desire to take things all the way to Strasbourg so Julian can exact a painful sum in damages. And already by December 2011 Julian will have been tagged and under arrest for over a year. There's not much more to a Swedish sentence even if he were found guilty.
No one really understands what the Swedes are doing, least of all the Swedes themselves.
I'm so sick of it all. Will it never end? At any rate I want to say the other girl's just as much to blame.
- Anna Ardin
Apparently Swedish laws are unique. If you have a penis you're half a rapist before you even get through customs.
- Scott Adams
If I am able to reveal what I know, everyone will realise this is all a charade. If I could tell the British courts, I suspect it would make extradition a moot point.
- Björn Hurtig
I can tell you that the Swedish prosecution still hasn't provided copies of those SMS texts that have been referred to. Those texts are some of the most powerful exculpatory evidence. In Australia prosecutors have a very grave duty to disclose such evidence to courts when seeking the grave exercise of a court's power against an individual. Yet in Sweden in this case, in the first hearings to obtain an arrest warrant, those texts were not submitted to the Swedish court, which is highly improper.
- James Catlin
The prosecutor could achieve this broadening of the law during Assange's trial so he can be convicted of a crime that didn't exist at the time he allegedly committed it. She would need to. There is no precedent for this. The Swedes are making it up as they go along.
- James Catlin
Julian Assange will surely learn that considering what WikiLeaks has published, he's got a few enemies in the Pentagon, the CIA, and the White House. Sweden began an investigation into rape which was later dismissed. Assange was even denied residence in Sweden. One can only speculate to what extent the security agencies of the US were involved. And considering the obvious interest of the US to silence WikiLeaks, is it likely Assange will have an accident of the 'Boston brakes' kind in the coming years? Or will he be snared with compromising information of the 'honey trap' kind?
- 'Drozd' at Flashback 23 October 2010
The truth will out, the truth wins out. Let no journalist ever again speculate into what the protocols say. Six months of digging and the people at Flashback have the actual documents. The sleaze printed by rags such as the Daily Mail, Sweden's Aftonbladet and Expressen, and perhaps above all the toxic Nick Davies of the Guardian, can stand no more. Yet more: these documents are an indictment of the 'news organisations' who've printed deliberate inaccuracies all along or even worse: refused to print anything at all. Nick Davies' account of the protocols was maliciously skewed; both Aftonbladet and Expressen had copies early on and printed nothing. Bloggers had copies but arrogantly kept the information to their Smeagol selves.
- The Assange Police Protocol: Translator's Note
The Technological: So Proud, So Proud
Flashback: The Monster WikiLeaks Thread
Marcello Ferrada de Noli: Why Blame Julian Assange?
Rixstep's Red Hat Diaries: Assange: Fair Trial in Sweden?
Rixstep's Red Hat Diaries: Assange & Sweden: 2 x Svensson
Rixstep's Red Hat Diaries: Sweden: How could you do this to us, Julian?
The Technological: Oskar Does the Annamotion
Heroes Banquet: Flashback Stops Witch Trial of Assange
Rixstep Learning Curve: No Requirement of Proof in Swedish Sex Trials
Rixstep Industry Watch: Sweden Blocking Assange/WikiLeaks Smear Documentary
The Technological: The Swedish Model
Rixstep Learning Curve: Assange: The Case Against Sweden
Rixstep's Red Hat Diaries: Assange is Right: Sweden's the Saudi Arabia of Feminism