• 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)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

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
Stockholm 'thief' turns out to be trainee ninja

Stockholm 'thief' turns out to be trainee ninja

Stockholm police rushed to the scene when a worried Swede reported that their neighbours were the victim of a break-in - but when officers arrived, they found nothing but a ninja in the middle of practice. READ  

Elections 2014
Liberals hint at bringing back conscription
Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Liberals hint at bringing back conscription

With Russia becoming "all the more aggressive", the Liberal Party leader and education minister, Jan Björklund, has suggested that Sweden may have to reintroduce conscription. READ  

Swede mauled in bear hunt gone wrong

Swede mauled in bear hunt gone wrong

Roles were reversed in a bear hunt on Thursday night, when a Swedish hunter was attacked by his prey, leaving the man in hospital in a serious condition. READ  

How immigration became a key election issue
Photo: Bertil Ericson/TT

How immigration became a key election issue

Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt sparked a furore with recent comments that put rising refugee costs in focus before the elections. But why did he bring it up, and will it affect the outcome? READ  

 Saab carmaker fails in bid for receivership
Photo: Björn Larsson Rosvall/TT

Saab carmaker fails in bid for receivership

A Swedish court has rejected a request from the Chinese-owned automaker NEVS, which owns the financially-troubled Swedish brand Saab, to be placed in receivership until it could attract new financing. READ  

Sweden's highest peak to lose title next year
The view of Kebnekaise's southern peak, soon to be the second highest peak in the country. Photo: Stockholm University

Sweden's highest peak to lose title next year

Mount Kebnekaise's southern peak will no longer be the highest point in Sweden by 2015, researchers predicted on Thursday, adding that the change will spell a major blow for tourism in the region. READ  

Gothenburg preschools end school photography
Moments like these are a thing of the past for Gothenburg preschoolers. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

Gothenburg preschools end school photography

Preschool managers in Gothenburg have decided to ban class photos at preschools in their municipality, citing the different financial situations of families as one reason for the change. READ  

Presented by Stockholm Business Region
Introducing… Insurance in Stockholm
This is Stockholm. Don’t worry - be happy. File photo: ASIFE/iStockphoto

Introducing… Insurance in Stockholm

Many consider Sweden a pretty safe place to live, but what if an icicle pierces your little toe or a ray of midnight sun sets fire to your kettle? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered when it comes to sorting out insurance in Sweden. READ  

Brit's life in Sweden becomes BBC radio show
The cast of The Cold Swedish Winter.

Brit's life in Sweden becomes BBC radio show

The Local chats to UK funnyman Danny Robins about his new radio show The Cold Swedish Winter, which is making waves on BBC radio. He talks elk, moose, and what it means to be a Swedophile. READ  

Allergic Swedes demand separate metro carriages
Peanut photo Shutterstock

Allergic Swedes demand separate metro carriages

A Swedish allergies association has asked Stockholm public transport officials to set aside certain carriages on the metro for those with allergies - banning nuts, animals, and strong fragrances in transit. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
People-watching August 27
Gallery
Top ten false friends in Swedish
National
Roma advocate scoops Wallenberg prize
Society
Meet the man who made a Swedish store recall its high heels for kids
Business & Money
'How I came to run my own business in Sweden'
Blog updates

25 August

Hit och dit, här och där (The Swedish Teacher) »

" Hej igen! A common challenge for Swedish language students are the location adverbs hit/här, dit/där, hem/hemma etc. Some of the location adverbs come in two versions. We should use one type of location adverb when we use a verb describes where we are, and we should use the other type of location adverb when we the verb..." READ »

 

25 August

The Dollar Store (Blogweiser) »

"A dollar store in Sweden. Blog post: http://t.co/tNuuvcP1q0 #USD #greenbacks #sweden #sverige pic.twitter.com/RHFAYf7U1k — Joel Sherwood (@joeldsherwood) August 23, 2014 There’s a chain here in Sweden called The DollarStore. This name always stood out to me in a country where they don’t use dollars. I went there for the first time this weekend. They actually accepted greenbacks..." READ »

 
 
 
Politics
Expert explains why Sweden's election oozes uncertainty
National
City plays Schindler's List theme at Nazi rally
Society
For Stockholm Fashion Week, here's the A-Z of Swedish fashion
National
'Amnesiac' man avoids deportation for ten years
Gallery
Princess Estelle through the years
Business & Money
Swedish city all set for six-hour workday trial
Business & Money
Five golden rules for the Swedish job hunt
Sponsored Article
Graduates: Insure your income in Sweden with AEA
Gallery
People-watching August 22-24
National
Armed royal guards caught (very) drunk on the job
National
Sweden orders textbook on Roma discrimination
Gallery
Violent anti-Nazi demonstrations in Malmö
Society
A closer look at Sweden's five official minority languages
Gallery
See the destruction from the southern Sweden floods
Politics
'Sweden Democrats hold the key to elections'
Society
Swedes celebrate first day of smelly fish season
Politics
Sweden elections: How do they work?
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching August 20th
Society
Did you know the Bronx in NYC was named after a Swede?
Sponsored Article
Find out what gives this Swedish school executive appeal
Sponsored Article
Introducing...Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing...Housing in Stockholm
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

746
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