One, aged 18, was found guilty of serious assault and sentenced to a year in prison, while a 19 year old, who was found to have assaulted Marcus Gabrielsen’s friend, was given a suspended sentence. A third was cleared of all charges.
The prosecutor, Anne-Marie Bergström, argued that they should be found guilty of murder or of causing another person’s death, and given sentences of between six and eight years.
But her case was undermined by a lack of technical evidence and by the fact that several witnesses changed their stories during the trial, or simply “forgot” what had happened.
Gabrielsen and a friend are said to have been chased after asking one of the attackers not to urinate in a doorway on the street.
They ran from one side of the street to the other, where Gabrielsen was either brought to the ground or fell, hitting his head on a concrete wall. Witnesses told police that they saw several men kicking and hitting Gabrielsen as he lay on the ground.
Despite the fact there were many people on Kungsgatan at the time, nobody came to Gabrielsen’s aid and he was left unconcious. He died in hospital two days later.
The 18 year old admitted kicking Gabrielsen in the stomach but denied targeting his head. There was no forensic evidence linking him to the attack.
Evidence from 16 witnesses was heard by the court but several gave substantially different accounts to what they had said to police at the time.
During police interviews a young woman told how she had heard one of the defendents say how he had “kicked and jumped on a guy’s head”. But in the trial she said she no longer remembered this.
Peter Lindqvist, the lawyer defending the 18 year old, told Dagens Nyheter that the fact that the witnesses changed their story would have significantly weakened the prosecutor’s case.
“It made no difference for my client, since he admitted,” he said.
“But for the others it could have played a part.”