Published 20 March 2023 at 14.11
Domestic. The public prosecutor has today appealed the high-profile verdict from the Court of Appeal in which a man was acquitted of child rape by a 10-year-old girl because it was unclear what the girl meant by the word “snip”.
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The district court convicted the man of child rape, but the court of appeal acquitted him because, according to the court of appeal, it was not proven that the girl told about a penetration.
A member of the court of appeal wanted confirm the judgment of the district court.
– The child's story, with words and body language, cannot be interpreted in any other way than that she means that the man has inserted a finger into her genitals. The man should therefore be sentenced according to the indictment for rape of children in two cases to three years in prison. I request that the Supreme Court set aside the Court of Appeal's judgment and return the case to the Court of Appeal for further proceedings because, in my view, the Court of Appeal made several errors during the proceedings, says Attorney General Petra Lundh in a statement.
The issues that the Attorney General wants to The Supreme Court pronounces on is
1. what obligation the court has to, through so-called substantive process management, clarify words or concepts in the description of the act whose meaning is unclear to the court,
2. what obligation the court has to, through substantive process management, raise the issue of alternative classifications within the context of the description of the act with the parties and to examine the description of the act in full, and
3. what obligation the court has, within the framework of its substantive process management and taking into account the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to take measures in cases concerning crimes against children to clarify what the child means by words or concepts whose meaning is unclear to the court and which guidelines, taking into account to the impartiality of the court, should apply to such process management.
– The court has a responsibility to remedy ambiguities in criminal trials. I perceive that there are flaws in the Court of Appeal's actions in this case. My assessment is that the courts act differently and that closer guidance is needed, says Petra Lundh.
The question is also what the court, which must be impartial, has an obligation in relation to child victims of crime.
– Since 2020, the Convention on the Rights of the Child has been Swedish law, which means that courts must take into account the rights that follow from the convention when assessing cases involving children, concludes Petra Lundh.
In order for the Supreme Court to hear an appeal of this type, it is required trial permit. Trial permission may only be issued on two grounds. Firstly, if it is important for the administration of the law that the appeal is heard by the Supreme Court (so-called precedent dispensation). Secondly, in certain exceptional cases, more precisely if there are special reasons for a review.
The issue of permission to review must be announced at a presentation that neither the parties nor the public have the opportunity to attend. The Supreme Court does not state the reasons behind a decision on leave to appeal.
The Supreme Court will now handle the case and hear the issue of leave to appeal. The average processing time to decide on a leave to appeal issue in HD is approximately two months, but the time varies from case to case. According to HD, no further information about when a decision on the leave to appeal issue will be announced in the current case can be given.