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Hunter faces court for shooting elk, killing skier

Hunter faces court for shooting elk, killing skier

Published: 28 Nov 2011 11:47 GMT+01:00
Updated: 28 Nov 2011 11:47 GMT+01:00

The trial against the hunter who fired a single shot that passed through an elk before hitting and killing a cross-country skier, opens on Monday in Sweden.

”As we walked up to the animal we saw something on the ground a bit further away, behind the elk,” the woman said when questioned by police, according to daily Aftonbladet.

The 32-year-old woman had been a licensed hunter for six years, but has waited ten years to fell her first elk, a victory that soon turned into tragedy as she realised something horrific had happened.

On the ground, behind the felled animal, lay a 71-year-old cross country skier, who had been killed instantly by a stray bullet in the incident which took place in December of last year, outside of Ljungby in southern Sweden.

It turned out that the bullet that hit the elk in the neck, went straight through and continued another 60 metres before hitting the skier, killing him instantly.

At first the woman and her companions had thought the skier had been struck down by illness while skiing, and as he was still warm they attempted to perform CPR to save his life.

It wasn't until they saw that he was bleeding from the chest, that they realized that the bullet which had killed the elk had continued and hit the skier too.

”We tried to resuscitate him, but it was impossible,” said the woman to the police. .

A forensic analyst wrote in his report that ” bullets travelling through felled animals are probably not that uncommon but the chances of something like this happening are extremely slim, ” reported Aftonbladet.

However, prosecutor Marcus Ostrander believes the female hunter neglected to take proper precautions before firing the fatal shot.

"It's important to test where the boundary for carelessness lies and the court need to look at all the circumstances," Sjöstrand told the local Smålandsposten newspaper when the woman was charged in April.

On Monday, almost a year after the incident, the woman will stand trial on mansluaghter charges.

The Local/rm (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

13:15 November 28, 2011 by johnjohn
Two birds with one stone.
13:30 November 28, 2011 by GLO
This is nuts!!! Its called an accident, waste of time, sure everyone involved is sorry.
14:06 November 28, 2011 by RobinHood
Prosecutors in Sweden seem to have way too much discretion to bring prosecutions that are not in the best interests of anyone.

What are the chances of a bullet passing through an elk and then striking a person hidden in the background? If the shooter had known the victim was behind the elk, and took the shot anyway, that would be another matter, but nobody saw the victim until after the shot. It was obviously an extremely unlucky accident, and quite what the prosecutor hopes to gain is unclear. The prosecutor will ask the hunter if she looked carefully before she fired. She will say she did, and no one will be able to prove beyond reasonable doubt that she did not. Game over.

Sweden needs a better system to rein in ambitious but dim prosecutors such as Mr Ostrander, or in the Assange case, man-hating, but dim, harridans like MS Ny.
15:43 November 28, 2011 by eppie
@robinhood

So what you say is next time I see you I throw a rock against your head all I have to say is that I was aiming for a mouse and didn't see you?

Of course she shouldn't be trialed for murder but it is very important that a case and a prosecution are made her. Not doing so will give some really dangerous precedence.

People should realize that even though they are morons they still should be very careful about what they are doing and take their responsabilities.
15:46 November 28, 2011 by Svensksmith
If she had actually tried to kill the skier by first shooting the bullet through an elk, she is the best, most talented assassin in the world.
17:05 November 28, 2011 by skogsbo
even if she assessed the ground behind, which she probably did for several hours waiting on her stand, once she looks through the sights, it's a bit like seeing the world through a toilet roll tube or smaller, you won't see the skier coming in from the side in your peripheral vision, especially if he was directly in line with the elk, in her blind spot, literally.

Plus a 71yr old must know exactly when the elk season starts and exctly where they hunt, it's pretty obvious when folk are out, dogs barking, cars parked randomly here and there. He should have known to make his presence a bit more known or just ski somewhere else that day. Certainly not his fault directly, but he didn't help himself either.

One of those accidents that would probably be impossible to stage if you tried.
17:38 November 28, 2011 by heu
@skogsbo: Clamining it was partly the guy's fault is the most stupid comment I've read here.

She obviously has to be prosecuted. It's an accident of course, but it's almost the same thing as when you hit someone with a car. It might have been pure negligence, we don't know all the facts.
17:46 November 28, 2011 by skogsbo
if you read what I said, I said he was not directly to blame, but if you know there is hunting going on, you have an adult responsibility not to put yourself in harms way. It is, as has been said extremely bad luck on everyone part. yes there has to be an enquiry, it's procedure.

Comparing this to hitting someone with a car is not the same at all and bad comparison. Unless you normally drive up to junctions looking with 1 eye down a 30-40mm tube??
18:47 November 28, 2011 by RobinHood
Some people here seem to struggle with basic concept of "mens rea". I can't be arsed to explain it here look it up yourself.

If it was an accident, then it's not a crime. If it it's not a crime, then there shouldn't be a prosecution. That's how the law works everywhere but Sweden.

Has anyone at all suggested the hunter shot the victim on purpose? No! Does anyone have any evidence she was criminally negligent? No! The criminal courts are not for conducting investigations into wierd accidents; they are for prosecuting criminals.

@Eppie

I would say it was a very unfortunate accident. Unless of course, you are a vicious liar. Are you a vicious liar Eppie?
19:04 November 28, 2011 by engagebrain
Skiers tend to wear bright coloured clothes - what was the dead person wearing ?

Skiers also tend to travel along defined trails.

I doubt that anyone thinks the hunter intended to kill but negligently killing someone, if that was what happened, requires some punishment.
19:52 November 28, 2011 by tuerd1982
Killing a chicken in Pizaria is a crime and shooting an elk or some other animal is hunting.
21:06 November 28, 2011 by Mark737408
She should have shot herself too the swedish bint
22:14 November 28, 2011 by Roy E
It's clearly an unfortunate accident if the bullet passed through the elk and hit a skier another 60 meters away. Now if the bullet passed through the skier first and then hit the elk, there would be a reasonable case to be made against the woman, but as it stands this sounds more like it's a case of busybodies with too much time on their hands than anything else.
00:11 November 29, 2011 by Commoner
It's sheer coincidence that the 71 year old just passed by in the fraction of a second when the bullet after killing the Elk went further & hit the 71 year old in the Chest. The hunter didn't took a random shot, she must have aimed it. I hope the court does not awards any harsh punishment to the woman. May the old man rest in peace along with the Elk. Such incidents are purely accidental.
09:18 November 29, 2011 by eppie
@robinhood

I might be a vicious liar. But you don't know that, and also a judge will probably not know this.....and that is exactly the point.

Again, the woman will not be trialed for full on murder of the first degree, but she should be held responsible for her acts. Going out in the woods with a rifle that apparantly is so powerful you easily shoot a bullet through an älg after which the bullet has speed enough to travel for another 60m untill it hits someone hard enough to kill him, comes with responsability.

And although I am sure she didn't do this on purpose certain acts (like shooting a rifle in public or, as mentioned before, driving a car) require a person to be extra careful and if some horrible accidents happens you should 'feel' this.
15:44 November 29, 2011 by John.Smith
Accidents happen and the simple truth is that a bullet she fired caused the death of a man. Of course there needs to be a prosecution. The purpose of this is to see whether or not she was negligent. I hope it finds that she was not negligent to be honest but nonetheless a hearing is required.
14:11 November 30, 2011 by KungsholmenGuy
In North America (and probably everywhere) it is illegal to fire shots along a highway during hunting season, or any season, for obvious reasons (some unsportsmanlike idiots do this anyway, after scaring moose out onto the highway by making loud noises in the forest so they can shoot them in in the open).

In that sense, the only legally interesting angle here is whether she fired a shot along a cross country skiing trail, which is presumably illegal, or should be made illegal. This could in fact be deemed criminal negligence, if illegal, or tragic incompetence, if it is not yet illegal in Sweden.

IF the accident occured whe she was firing across a trail, or if the guy was not on any trail, then it is a waste of court time.
22:20 November 30, 2011 by rohermoker
As a hunter in Minnesotsa I am responsable foor that bullet from the point it leaves the muzzle to the point it hits the dirt, I am all to aware of what is behind the target. be it paper or animal. Such incedents are tragic for eveone involved
05:35 December 6, 2011 by minnesota_mathias
Hunter Safety Class 101: Be sure of the target and whats beyond it.

I understand that accidents happen but she's at least partially responsible on this. The other half is just pure bad luck on both parts. Condolences to the skier's family, he at least died doing something that he loved I'm sure.
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