Bad judgment

This week's tabloids have been full of the kind of headlines judges dread. In Malmö, a judge with a tough record on 'johns' admitted to being one prostitute's frequent customer, while another judge in Borås, on Sweden's west coast, was robbed of his computer, then blackmailed as thieves discovered child pornography on the hard drive.

Aftonbladet reported that the Borås case was revealed accidentally, when police arrested a known criminal who happened to have the judge’s stolen computer in a stolen car. The police found the child pornography on the computer and then realized it belonged to the judge, who had dealt with children and family cases many times during his career.

The judge had allegedly already handed over 15,000 crowns to the thieves, who’d threatened to go to the police unless they were paid off. They had asked for an additional 200,000 Swedish crowns but didn’t get it before police made the discovery. Police also found a letter from the blackmailers to a television journalist offering to sell the information about the judge and the porn.

Prosecutor Urban Svenkvist in Borås told Aftonbladet, “I have a case with an attorney who is suspected of a crime involving child pornography.” He added that he hasn’t decided how to proceed yet.

The judge in the Malmö case has admitted spending up to 25,000 Swedish crowns on the prostitute, who according to Expressen used the money for heroin. Police arrested her and after days of interrogation, she finally gave up his name, describing detailed information about his genitalia as supporting evidence. She also said he was one of her “best customers,” believing he had actually paid as much as 75,000 crowns over many visits.

Expressen wrote that the judge admitted to police that “I fell for temptation….we drove to the country and had sex and I paid her 2,000 crowns for it. I thought she was nice, and good-looking, not a drug addict.”

Sydsvenskan reported that the judge continued to work from May to September while the case was unravelling, even in the media. He has since paid a fine of 40,000 crowns and further action regarding his career is pending. It appears, however, that a trial is unlikely.

The head of Malmö’s county court, Barbro Thorblad, told news agency TT, “It’s terrible what has happened and of course not good for the court or for justice in general.”

The career of the Borås judge is also on the line, but no one is willing to say what will happen or when. Meanwhile, both judges are practising a more familiar Swedish tradition: they are both on sick leave.

Aftonbladet couldn’t resist recalling other memorable cases involving judges. In 2002 a judge was literally caught with his pants down, buying sex from a prostitute in a church cemetery. The year before that, a judge was arrested for public drunkenness. And she didn’t go easily, kicking a policeman and calling officers “Nazis” and “pieces of shit.”

Judge not, and so on.

Sources: Expressen, Aftonbladet, Sydsvenska Dagbladet

Dodi Axelson