Sensational twist in Kungsgatan murder trial
The Local · 4 Jan 2006, 16:40
Published: 04 Jan 2006 16:40 GMT+01:00
She is said to have been present in court on the first day of the trial - which is dealing with the death of a 29 year old man on the Stockholm street in May last year - and therefore before she identified two of the suspects.
After the woman's court appearance on Wednesday a law student, Sara Wallin, revealed to TT that she had met the witness on the trial's opening day on December 6th.
The woman had been present in the courtroom and had therefore been able to see the suspects.
"I am sure it was the same person. I talked to her," said Wallin to TT.
Wallin is following the trial in order to write a dissertation on it. Her revelation provoked uproar among trial lawyers, who on Wednesday lunchtime could not say how the case would proceed.
The concluding pleas were planned to be held on Thursday morning.
Professor Christian Diesen, who is following the case, commented:
"If the witness has seen the suspects before the court identification, her testimony falls apart. She risks prosecution and prison for perjury.
A week after the witness visited the trial she contacted the court and said that she had long been haunted by her conscience and now wanted to say what she had seen on Kungsgatan on the night of May 9th.
That night, Marcus Gabrielsen, 29, was kicked to death on the central Stockholm street. Three 19 year old men later faced trial for the murder, but they were found not guilty and the case was taken to the Court of Appeal.
In a video identification parade the witness later confidently pointed out two of the suspects. In police interviews she swore that she had never seen the men before. The prosecutor, Anne-Marie Bergström considered the woman to have good reasons for not coming forward until this point.
The woman, who is aged 59, made a dramatic entrance into court on Wednesday, wearing dark glasses and with a cerise scarf wrapped around her head. When lawyer Thomas Martinson asked her why she did not wish to reveal her face and eyes, she said:
"It's up to me how I dress myself."
The woman told how she was on her way home from a bar when she witnessed the lethal assault. She had later moved out to the country and had not thought much about the event until she came back to the city later in the autumn.
Then, she said, she became plagued by her conscience and eventually contacted the court.
In a direct response to a question from the defence, the woman said that she had not attended any earlier trial proceedings, either in the original district court or in the appeal court.
"Never before has a trial turned in such a dramatic fashion," said Professor Christian Diesen to Svenska Dagbladet.
"It has happened before that a witness was shown to have been present in court, but this turnaround was almost filmic. The witness's testimony was highly credible. If this hadn't been revealed we would have had a guilty verdict."