• Sweden edition
 

'Suspects can claim they were drunk and go free'

Published: 01 Nov 2011 08:48 GMT+01:00
Updated: 01 Nov 2011 13:53 GMT+01:00

The man, who stabbed two people, claimed he was too intoxicated to recall exactly what he had done. As a result, the Supreme Court ruled that he couldn't have had the intent required to be convicted of attempted murder.

In the precedent setting ruling issued on September 16th, the court instead believed the man should be convicted of aggravated assault, rather than attempted murder, after using a 24 centimetre-long kitchen knife to stab two people in the face, neck, and chest.

“A group of judges on the Supreme Court (Högsta Domstolen - HD) have elevated intoxication to an excuse,” write criminal law professors Madeleine Leijonhufvud and Suzanne Wennberg in an opinion article published on Tuesday in the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper.

They argue that that Swedish law is based on the assumption that if someone voluntarily continues to remain intoxicated they nevertheless remain responsible for their actions.

Sweden's courts, including the Supreme Court, have previously excluded intoxication when interpreting laws and ruling on whether the accused acted with intent.

That an accused now, because of his intoxication, is unable to see the scope of his actions means that he can go free from a premeditated crime.

“The consequence of the Supreme Court ruling is that in certain cases, deeds will be downgraded to a lesser crime,” the two professors write.

The ruling could also result in actions carried out during a drunken state are no longer considered criminal, argue Leijonhufvud and Wennberg.

However, Magnus Ulväng an expert in criminal law at Uppsala University, accused Leijonhufvud and Wennberg of twisting the issue, explaining that suspected criminals won't simply be able to avoid punishment by claiming they were under the influence.

“And I don't think one should exaggerate the problem. It's always hard to show criminally punishable responsibility and this includes exceptional cases. It's an extreme situation when one concludes that a person is so intoxicated that they don't understand what's going on,” he told the TT news agency.

“In the majority of cases where people are drunk they have intent. They get angry and do things. Being intoxicated isn't the same thing as having these exceptional circumstances apply.”

He said the Supreme Court's ruling was a “sought-after clarification” that the same rules apply to both sober and intoxicated people, namely that intent is required to commit a crime.

“What this is about is that when a person is intoxicated, the question of intent has been overlooked. There's no other situation where we accept convicting people without intent. There's good reason for having a high burden of proof,” said Ulväng.

TT/The Local/dl (news@thelocal.se)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

09:11 November 1, 2011 by engagebrain
it also seems to require some objective definition of drunkenness - when in doubt claim to be drunk.
10:46 November 1, 2011 by bourgeoisieboheme
Isn't this a moral hazard in a way? It will cause criminals to intoxicate themselves prior to the act thus removing legal liability. Now if you want to rob a bank, rape someone, even murder, it will pay to get hammered in the bar first before you do the act. This ruling is setting a VERY bad precedent.
10:52 November 1, 2011 by Grokh
that excused has been used for centuries and it never helped anyone why should it help now ?
12:33 November 1, 2011 by Mb 65
try telling that to the tax office when you have a problem with them.
12:52 November 1, 2011 by Mib
Probably this judgement was made when the Supreme Court judges were drunk themselves. They may have even raped thier partners while in a drunken state and so have empathy for someone in a astate of dunkeness.

Well,,,,,it seems that any excuse is alid now for taking now resposnibility for your actions ie. the drunk father who sexually assaulted his young son thinkning it was his Wife after drinkingtoo much. Julian Assange should use this in his defence and hy he will be free without question....I mean he's guilty until proven innocent in the eyes of the politically motivated tossers.

It's just like the rulings by the EU supreme court that allowed an immigrant who I believe did a hit & run, but could not be deported as it would deprive him of his rights to look after his cat. I would say take the bloody cat to his home country...but then you're probably violating the cat's rights.

The court should always focus on the VICTIM...VICTIM.....and not on finding any excuse to stab the VICTIM in the back. Who says crime doesn't pay? I bet if someone stabbed a Supremem Court judge while drunk, the ruling would HAVE been different.
13:46 November 1, 2011 by philster61
"I bet if someone stabbed a Supremem Court judge while drunk, the ruling would HAVE been different. "

Unlikely. He would've claimed that the Judge was drunk and stumbled onto his knife....
15:38 November 1, 2011 by conboy
A few years ago someone did but he was not drunk merely schizophrenic and is therefore banged up on lifetime review at a centre for the criminally insane at Karsudden.
19:13 November 1, 2011 by Jimmy
Great now I can go to the pub, get drunk drive home, and if caught.... plead I am drunk
19:20 November 1, 2011 by yourkidding
Good to know. Remind me to rob Swedbanken the next time my mates and I go out for a few pints.
22:48 November 1, 2011 by Philscbx
2:52 November 1, 2011 by Mib

Probably this judgement was made when the Supreme Court judges were drunk themselves. They may have even raped thier partners while in a drunken state and so have empathy for someone in a astate of dunkeness.

Who says crime doesn't pay? I bet if someone stabbed a Supremem Court judge while drunk, the ruling would HAVE been different.

This is exactly Correct.

That's why we have very LAX Drink Driving laws in the US.

They get off over & over, still able to drive, then kill entire family head on.

When they find their loved one stabbed to death, then the law will be slam dunk.

They were sober & articulate enough to select a weapon and commit the crime. What ever condition occurred after has no bearing.

Snipers will be the new final law self made of volunteer secrete society.

I reviewed several hours of Russian Court System,, from petty theft to major crimes.

I now have the utmost respect for those Judges.

All Judges by law, forced to sit in those courts for a week/month to understand real justice before ever laying out their gay agenda.
03:52 November 12, 2011 by MartinSifas
There's the saying "In vino veritas", In wine is the truth. Drunken people should still be responsible of their actions. Otherwise drinking becomes the solution against consequences.
Today's headlines
Sweden worst in EU at getting foreigners jobs
Photo: Henrik Trygg/Imagebank Sweden

Sweden worst in EU at getting foreigners jobs

UPDATED: Swedish citizens are the most likely to be employed in the EU, but Sweden is among the very worst when it comes to getting non-EU citizens into work. READ  

Man arrested for burning partner's face
Photo: Linn Malmén/TT

Man arrested for burning partner's face

Police suspect that a man in western Sweden is responsible for the extreme burns on his partner's face. The man has been arrested on suspicion of aggravated assault - and potentially attempted murder. READ  

In Pictures: Conchita Wurst in Stockholm
Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

In Pictures: Conchita Wurst in Stockholm

Eurovision winner and LGBTQ idol Conchita Wurst is in Stockholm this week for Stockholm Pride - and joined Swedes at Skansen for a colourful summer sing-along. READ  

Stockholm holds colour contest for new metro
Photo: Joel Bagon

Stockholm holds colour contest for new metro

Stockholm's new metro line is not set for preliminary construction until 2016, and will not be completed until 2022 - but Swedes already have the chance to vote for the new line's colour. READ  

Sweden's heat wave officially over
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Sweden's heat wave officially over

The heat wave that swept over Sweden recently has finally passed, meteorologists reported on Wednesday, promising cooler and more autumnal temperatures around the corner. READ  

Ukraine rebels release kidnapped Swede
Rebel tanks on the road to Horlivka in June. Photo: TT

Ukraine rebels release kidnapped Swede

The Swede who was kidnapped by pro-Russian rebels has been released after nearly three weeks of being held hostage - although no one knows where he is now. READ  

Stockholm Pride 2014
Stockholm Pride bars Sweden Democrats
Photos: Henrik Montgomery/Fredrik Persson/TT

Stockholm Pride bars Sweden Democrats

While a record number of ministers and party leaders will participate in the Stockholm Pride Parade this year, there are notable exceptions - including SD leader Jimmie Åkesson, who is not only 'uninterested' but banned. READ  

Gender neutral 'hen' enters dictionary
Soon 'hen' will be found on this page. Photo: The Local

Gender neutral 'hen' enters dictionary

The ever-controversial pronoun 'hen' has won its battle and is set to officially become part of the Swedish language. READ  

Pines, polska and magic: Urkult Music Festival
Photo: Danny Chapman/The Local

Pines, polska and magic: Urkult Music Festival

The Urkult music festival in northern Sweden may be less sex, drugs and rock'n'roll and more family fun, chai and polska dancing - but Danny Chapman says it’s one of the most magical Swedish experiences he has had. READ  

Presented by Stockholm Business Region
Introducing... ID cards and permits in Stockholm
You want one of these. Photo: Skatteverket

Introducing... ID cards and permits in Stockholm

When it comes to data-driven life, from daycare to healthcare, Sweden is in a league of its own. Above all, your personal number is the key that unlocks life in Stockholm. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
Stockholm Pride: Allsång på Skansen with Conchita Wurst
Skatteverket
Sponsored Article
Introducing... ID cards and permits in Stockholm
Gallery
People-watching, June 26th - 28th. Get inside Stockholm's hottest nightclubs
Gallery
Top ten Swedish taboos
Society
Seven-year-old Swede cycles to Berlin
Blog updates

27 July

Approaching Stockholm (Around Sweden in a kayak) »

"I woke up in the comfort of my own little cabin on Eva and Rolf’s boat, it was 7:30am and I was feeling a bit groggy after a couple of beers with all the lovely locals the night before. The previous day had really taken its toll on my body and I was very stiff and..." READ »

 

24 July

Sharing our Pride: Celebrating Love & the LGBT Community! (Stockholm in my American Heart) »

"It’s mid- July in Stockholm, and with much of the city on vacation, things can seem a little quiet – the streets, the bus, and the grocery store. One thing that has not paused for a summer break, though, is preparation for Stockholm’s Pride Festival, which will take place from July 28 to August 2...." READ »

 
 
 
Politics
'Gaza conflict needs help, not empty rhetoric'
Society
Swedes voted 'most beautiful' in the Nordics
Business & Money
Sweden demands EU clarity on Bitcoin tax
National
Swedish organic sales enjoy 'amazing' growth
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
Society
What's On in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching July 23
National
Swedish cops elect not to shoot 'angry elks'
Business & Money
New alcohol retail rules threaten micro-breweries
Gallery
People-watching Båstad
Business & Money
Sweden falls to third in global innovation index
Society
Swedish ornithologists keep webcam watch
Photo: Andreas Nordström/Image Bank Sweden
Gallery
Top ten Swedish beach hot spots
Tech
Swedish Wiki vet sets new content record
Photo: Fastighetsbyrån
Lifestyle
In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week
Photo: Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching July 15-16
Photo: Ola Ericson/Image Bank Sweden
Society
What's On in Sweden
Photo: Lisa Mikulski
National
Hope springs eternal for expat pet shop owner
Gallery
Princess Estelle steals limelight at mum's birthday
National
Swedes risk infants' lives by covering up prams
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

745
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
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
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