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'You're no rapist if you think it's a game': court

Published: 16 Jun 2014 16:53 GMT+02:00

The appeals court upheld a ruling by the Lund District Court from January that the sexual act was a rape, but that the man was not guilty of rape.
 
The man, 28, claimed that when the woman said no he thought it was just "part of the game".
 
"They agreed to have sex, and then she changed her mind during the night - and she has every right to do that, and that should be the end of it," Judge Lennart Svensäter said, reported the Expressen newspaper.
 
"But the problem is - has he understood that she no longer wants any part of it?"
 
He added that there should be absolutely no doubt when convicting someone, and that there was simply too much doubt in this particular case.
 
Lawyer Elisabeth Massi Fritz, a specialist in violent crimes against women, was critical of the ruling and told the TT news agency that it meant "a no doesn't always mean no".
 
The man had confessed in court that he was violent during the sex and that the woman had protested, but he maintained that he thought it was all part of a game. He believed the woman was into dominant sex, he explained.
 
The woman claimed that the man had tried to force both oral and anal sex, Expressen reported. 
 
But the court said in its ruling on Monday that the victim's version of events was "lacking in details" compared to the 28-year-old man's. The pair, the court explained, had agreed to have sex, but added that the man had no way of knowing the woman wanted to stop after she changed her mind midway through. 
 
The court also took into account the fact that the woman said she "couldn't be sure" the man had understood that she didn't want to have sex.
 
Two of the lay judges believed the man was guilty, however, and had aimed for a sentence of two years in prison. They explained that the woman's account was vague because she had been scared and shocked. They claimed the "sex-game excuse" was simply a fabrication invented after the incident had taken place. 
 
The Lund District Court ruling in January prompted protests and a strong backlash on Swedish social media. 
 
The judge argued at the time no one in his position should feel pressured by potential media fallout in difficult cases.
 
"If what is happening right now in mass and social media has the potential to scare less experienced judges, we're on a dangerous path," he wrote in an op-ed at the time.

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

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