Prosecutor reported over rape comments
Published: 17 Aug 2009 10:44 GMT+02:00
Updated: 17 Aug 2009 10:44 GMT+02:00
Swedish district prosecutor Rolf Hillegren has been reported to the justice ombudsman for published comments in which he classified some categories of rape as mere regulatory offences.
- Supreme Court in landmark rape rulings (03 Jul 09)
- Is rape rampant in gender-equal Sweden? (11 May 09)
- 'Make accused rapists prove consent': experts (07 May 09)
Hillegren made his comments in an interview with the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper discussing a landmark ruling by the Swedish Supreme Court (Högsta Domstolen) that set new guidelines for rape cases.
The court ruled that testimony alone should not be sufficient to secure a conviction. Hillegren expressed satisfaction that the law and order aspect was to be underlined.
"There should be a high demand on evidence in criminal cases, even sex cases," he said to the newspaper.
"When one says rape one thinks mostly of really nasty rapes. But take a man and a woman who know each other and the woman says she doesn't feel like it today, but the man just goes ahead anyway. Sure, it is not very nice, but maybe not worth two years in prison. It is more like a regulatory offence," he said.
Hillegren's comments have prompted a storm of reactions from angry readers; among them Peter Sunde, one of the founders of The Pirate Bay, who has reported the lawyer to the Ombudsman of Justice (JO).
"At first I presumed that he had been misquoted by SvD, but then I realized that they are usually very thorough. I therefore reported him to JO and I encourage all the readers of my blog to the same thing," Sunde wrote on his blog.
Reactions from colleagues have also been critical of Hillegren's comments.
"I don't think that they are at all representative of prosecutors in general," said Prosecutor-General Anders Perklev, to SvD.
Perklev argued that Hillegren's comments are to be considered of a private nature and while his position demands that he follows current legislation, he currently has no grounds for suspecting that Hillegren does not do so.