Dismay over drunk killer sentence

The Swedish Supreme Court (HD) has upheld a lower court’s sentence of one and a half-years’ imprisonment for a drunk driver who killed a grandmother and her grandchild in Flurmark, near Umeå in 2003.

The 62-year old grandmother had been out for a stroll with her 11-month-old granddaughter tucked in her pram. A 60-year old man with a blood alcohol level of 2.7ppm drove into them, killing both.

The Swedish Attorney General had appealed for a longer incarceration of at least three years claiming 18 months was too lenient.

The Supreme Court only reviewed the harshness of the sentence itself and not the merits of the case.

The maximum sentence for manslaughter is six years. The original 18-month-sentence was upheld by HD which stated,

“There is no evidence to prove [the 60-year-old driver] was in any way indifferent to the outcome of his actions. Consequently, the more severe end of the sentencing scale was not applicable.”

Folkpartiet reacted to the ruling by proclaiming that the law must be changed.

“It’s a sad day for the general public” Johan Pehrson, Chairman of Folkpartiet’s Justice Committee, told TT.

Johan Pehrson isn’t critical of the supreme court itself which has the responsibility to interpret the existing law. He maintains that the law regarding driving under the influence must change.

Pehrson said that manslaughter associated with driving while intoxicated should be considered more serious than it is today. In which case, the maximum extent of the punishment scale could be used.

“[This crime] could in fact have exacted a six-year sentence and it would have been in better taste to have used it in this case” Pehrson pointed out.