Outspoken prosecutor taken off rape cases
Published: 20 Aug 2009 08:11 GMT+02:00
Updated: 20 Aug 2009 08:11 GMT+02:00
Swedish district prosecutor Rolf Hillegren, who was reported to the justice ombudsman for referring to some cases of rape as mere regulatory offences, will no longer work on sex crime cases, it has been announced.
- Prosecutor reported over rape comments (17 Aug 09)
"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 was met with a media storm and was widely criticized for his comments which were seen as undermining patient work to encourage victims of rape to come forward.
He will now no longer work on any more sex crime cases in the period before he retires next year, Per Nichols, the head of the Stockholm City district prosecutor's office, announced after a meeting with Hillegren on Wednesday.
"I have had an extended discussion with Hillegren and we are in agreement that, over the months remaining before he retires, he will be given specific tasks at the prosecutors office. It means that he will not oversee any sex crime cases," Per Nichols said according to an SvD report.
Rolf Hillegren maintained in a debate article in SvD on Monday that he is convinced that many of his colleagues share his view.
"I venture to claim that my view on the crime of rape is not significantly different from that of my colleagues. What's different is the interest in the debate, which I find regrettable but understand," he wrote.
Per Nichols on Wednesday took the opportunity to underline his view that this was not the case.
"I do not share this understanding and I think that it is in itself wrong. Violence against women is an area which is prioritized in the work of the prosecutor's office and we are investing in the education of our prosecutors."
"This is a view which is not shared by the city office nor any other prosecutors' office," Nichols argued.
In a response to widespread public criticism, Hillegren had a second article published in SvD on Wednesday in which he referred to a man's decision to proceed with sex despite his partner's unwillingness as a breach of etiquette.
"I share the commonly held view that 'no means no'. I am however also of the opinion that one ought not to legislate on consent, as the issue is already central to all rape cases. To not have sex against someone's will is an excellent rule of social interaction, but it is more applicable to books on etiquette than it is to law books."