Child porn police tripped by Swedish Supreme Court

The police's efforts to clamp down on child pornography in Sweden have been hampered by a recent interpretation of the law which casts doubt on whether an image of an underage girl is illegal.

After a Supreme Court ruling in February, police have been told that they cannot stop pictures or films if they are not “obviously” child porn.

In the case, the court judged that two underage girls who participated in a sex film were considered to look so mature that the film could not be classified as child pornography.

But according to Michael Rystedt at the National Criminal Investigation Department’s child pornography unit, that decision has blurred the law.

“Before, our interpretation was that if you knew that the child was under 18 and was identified, then the picture was child pornography,” he told Swedish Radio’s Ekot programme.

Since the ruling, police say they are unable to confiscate such pictures or close down web sites since it is by no means clear that they are illegal.

Rystedt told Ekot of one recent case:

“We knew that she was 13, but like many 13 year olds today she was fully developed. So that meant it wasn’t child pornography.”

Now the police want a change in the law so they have the ability to confiscate and destroy pictures and films.

“We need legislation to protect children and to ensure that these pictures are regarded as child porn,” said Rystedt.

“This is about the children.”

Sources: SR