• Sweden edition
 

'Sleepwalking' Swede beats drunken driving charges

Published: 01 Nov 2010 16:27 GMT+01:00
Updated: 01 Nov 2010 16:27 GMT+01:00

There is no doubt that the man was well above the legal limit when he awoke late one evening last May in the driver's seat of his car, which had careened into a ditch in Karlskrona in southern Sweden.

According to court documents, the man had a blood alcohol level of 1.85 per mille – nearly ten times Sweden's legal limit of 0.2 per mille.

"He fell asleep around 9pm. After that, he doesn't remember anything except that his next memory is that he woke up in the ditch outside his car together with a male named Magnus," reads the Blekinge District Court's ruling.

"He had on his nightshirt, sweatpants and slippers."

He explained to officers that he was on his to replenish his supply of snus, a wet snuff tobacco product popular in Sweden.

He also claimed he didn't feel under the influence when he got in his car and that he recalled veering off into the ditch and slamming into a post.

But during subsequent interrogations, the man claimed to have no memory of initial post-accident interview, only that "he spoke with a police officer and that he was in shock and extremely intoxicated when the interview took place."

In tossing out the drunken driving charges against the man, the court cited an opinion written by the man's doctor following the accident explaining that he may have suffered from somnambulism or sleepwalking.

"Somnambulism is a well known medical phenomenon where a person can carry out complex behaviours like walking, eating and making food, driving a car and having sex without actually being awake or aware of what's happening," wrote the doctor, according to court documents.

The doctor explained that the man had previously displayed behaviour that could be interpreted as sleepwalking after having taken the same pills he took the evening of the accident.

According to the court, the man "may have been affected by somnambulism and was unaware of his actions."

As a result, wrote the court in its ruling, "It cannot be shown beyond a reasonable doubt" that the man "was aware of his actions when he drove his car" to the extent required to find him guilty of drunken driving.

The man's attorney, Christer Holmqvist, wasn’t surprised by the verdict.

"I actually expected an acquittal," he told The Local.

"But I can understand that the public might think otherwise, but when it comes to standards of evidence for a criminal conviction, all one needs is a reasonable alternative explanation [for an acquittal]."

Holmqvist said he expects the verdict will be appealed, citing recent media reports that the prosecutor in the case was unhappy with the verdict.

"I won't be surprised if it's appealed. I understand there is a certain amount of public pressure on a prosecutor to gain a conviction," he said.

The Local's attempts to reach prosecutor Malin Svensson for comment were unsuccessful.

David Landes (david.landes@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

19:16 November 1, 2010 by Pacey
Woo Hoo! Now all of us need to get that doc and that lawyer and binge drink and drive!
21:14 November 1, 2010 by Swedesmith
Sounds like the judge was sleepwalking.
21:53 November 1, 2010 by mikewhite
In the UK, a family friend who was a qualified driving instructor was convicted of dangerous driving and temporarily lost his qualification, when he collapsed while driving due to sudden onset of illness.

It was treated by the court as a statutory offence, ie. his intention was not an issue.
23:56 November 1, 2010 by jack sprat
Sounds more like bloodyliarbulism to me.lol.

However nightware shall be my standard driving attire from now on, just in case I ever get pulled early morning after the night before.
00:09 November 2, 2010 by Da Goat
Sleep driving is more dangerous than drunk driving SO they should have hit him harder not let him off

this is a worse thing than downloading (you can't kill while downloading) I guess 4 years would be sufficient!
00:12 November 2, 2010 by eZee.se
"...and having sex without actually being awake or aware of what's happening"

If one day I get up and mini-me has taken me to Vegas, hired me a 1000 dollar a night hooker and also given her a tip... I swear I'm gonna cut it off!
01:04 November 2, 2010 by Emmaboda
Someone must paid that judge off, or the cold autumn winds from the Baltic Sea was affecting the mind of the judge, down there in Karlskrona
01:14 November 2, 2010 by IranianBoy
come on! it's possible! from the probability theory point of view.... lol
05:32 November 2, 2010 by Jarvilainennen
So, while sober, this man must be the safest driver on earh if he falls asleep at the wheel. But if he suddenly insists on stopping for some snus, might be an indication to the poor wife?

"Oh, honey, not again..!"

"I need some snus, I need some snus..."

Anyway, if he truly suffers from this condition, hide the keys to the car, a court order to give them to a neighbour or someting :)
14:53 November 2, 2010 by The.Local.Troll
So, he was drunk and taking strong drugs whilst driving... and he got away with it!!

Rubbish excuse, rubbish outcome...
Today's headlines
New coalition
New coalition reveals 'compromise' budget
Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and Green Party leader Åsa Romson. Photo: TT

New coalition reveals 'compromise' budget

UPDATED: Prime Minister Stefan Löfven's Social Democrat-led coalition has revealed its first budget proposal, listing plans to spend more than 20 billion kronor. READ  

Royal family
Swedish royal couple set wedding date
The couple pictured in the summer. Photo: TT

Swedish royal couple set wedding date

Sweden's Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist, who got engaged earlier this year, have announced they will marry next June. READ  

Analysis
Sweden Democrat threats 'just a show'
Sweden Democrat leader Jimmie Åkesson. Photo: TT

Sweden Democrat threats 'just a show'

There is talk that the nationalist Sweden Democrats could trigger a fresh election, by rejecting the new coalition's budget. But leading Political Scientist Li Bennich Björkman tells The Local that the party is just game-playing and should be focusing on getting its fatigued leader back. READ  

Lifestyle
What's On in Sweden: October 24th - 31st
Chocolate and liquorice are on the menu in Gothenburg this weekend. Photo: Shutterstock

What's On in Sweden: October 24th - 31st

A secret gig in Stockholm, a short film festival in Uppsala and a gastronomy event in Gothenburg have caught our eye this week. READ  

Science
Astronaut helps launch first student satellite
Christer Fuglesang on a previous space mission. Photo: TT

Astronaut helps launch first student satellite

Sweden's debut astronaut Christer Fuglesang is helping students at KTH Royal Institute of Technology to become the first in the country to make their own satellite and send it into space. READ  

Weather
Sweden braces for ten centimetres of snow
Kiruna, in far northern Sweden, has already been hit by snow this season. Photo: TT

Sweden braces for ten centimetres of snow

Sweden's weather agency has warned that up to ten centimetres of snow are on the way for Sweden. READ  

Business and Money
Global profit boost for Handelsbanken
Handelsbanken is Sweden's second largest bank. Photo: Bertil Eriksson/TT

Global profit boost for Handelsbanken

Sweden's second-largest bank, Handelsbanken, has reported a rise in third-quarter profits, boosted by higher income from its loan book as it continues its expansion overseas. READ  

Stockholm 'sub hunt'
Sweden pulls back 'submarine' search
Navy vessels remain in the archipelago. Photo: Lars Pehrson/TT

Sweden pulls back 'submarine' search

Sweden is pulling back part of the naval operation which has been searching for a suspected Russian submarine off the coast of Stockholm for nearly a week. READ  

Julian Assange
Assange prepares for court ruling in Sweden
Julian Assange at Ecuador's embassy in the UK. Photo: Anthony Devlin

Assange prepares for court ruling in Sweden

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says he is "confident" his asylum status will be resolved, as he awaits an imminent ruling on his case by a Swedish court. READ  

Opinion
'Why were we kept in the dark for years?'
The submarine hunt is now in it's sixth day. Photo: TT

'Why were we kept in the dark for years?'

Military expert Johanne Hildebrandt tells The Local that the biggest question in the Stockholm submarine hunt hasn't been answered yet - why don't we know more about the "other operations" from the last few years? READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
People-watching: October 22nd
Gallery
In Pictures: Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist
Lifestyle
Eight things to love about renting a Swedish apartment
National
Vasa ship cannon blasted in Sweden
National
Sub hunt: Day-by-day
Blog updates

21 October

Denna & den här (The Swedish Teacher) »

"?Denna? or ?den hr?? Swedish language students often ask question about different pronouns. One pronoun that especially..." READ »

 

19 October

Getting it (Blogweiser) »

"Follow Joel Sherwood on FB Few watch baseball in Sweden. This is excellent when your team loses..." READ »

 
 
 
National
Sub hunt: Stockholm islanders share their fears with The Local
Sponsored Article
The best options for oversea transfers
National
Get 20% off unique Swedish homeware
National
Dentist gives free care to Roma beggars
Business & Money
Get your own office in Gothenburg or Stockholm - free for a day
Gallery
Property of the week: Malmö
Gallery
PHOTOS: 'Foreign activity' in Swedish waters
Gallery
People-watching: October 19th
TT
Society
QUIZ: How good is your Swedish?
Lifestyle
What's on in Sweden: October 17th - 24th
Society
The nudity... and nine other things expat men notice in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 15th
Gallery
Your views: Should outdoor smoking be banned in Sweden?
Business & Money
Sweden has 'large hole' in finances
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Finding a job in Stockholm
Society
Monster salmon caught in northern Sweden
Gallery
Property of the week: Lorensberg
National
Scandinavia's child bride
National
Ebola crisis: How is Sweden preparing?
Business & Money
How Sweden is becoming a cashless society
Gallery
Stockholm Burlesque Festival 2014
National
How a little red horse became a symbol for Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 12th
Business & Money
The hottest start-ups from southern Sweden
National
What's on in Sweden: October 10th - 17th
National
Stockholm is 'best' region for well-being
Gallery
People-watching: October 8th
National
Five facts to know about Patrick Modiano
Society
My Swedish Career: A French fashionista in Sweden
Society
Swede's anti-bully Facebook tale goes viral
Society
Have you seen Sweden's viral subway cancer campaign?
National
Isis: Swedes linked to Turkish prisoner swap
National
Should Swedes be banned from buying sex abroad?
Gallery
Fredrik Reinfeldt's leaving presents
National
Five Swedish TV shows you shouldn't miss
Gallery
A tool belt, a casserole, and a book. Fredrik Reinfeldt's parliament gifts
TT
Lifestyle
Top five winter festivals in Sweden
TT
National
Sami reindeer herders win mine reprieve
Gallery
Property of the Week: Gamla Enskede
Sponsored Article
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Politics
Ten new minister faces you should know
Team SCA
Sponsored Article
All-female SCA team takes off on Volvo Ocean Race
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

977
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN