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Expressen journalist denies impersonating police officer

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13:47 CET+01:00
GOTHENBURG. The trial of an Expressen journalist who is accused of pretending to be a police officer began in Gothenburg on Monday. He denies the charge.

According to the prosecutor, the reporter, Niclas Rislund, claimed he was a policeman when he was looking for information regarding the case of the kidnapped director of Siba, Fabian Bengtsson.

Before a packed courtroom, prosecutor Carl Bergström talked in his opening statement of Sweden's open society, which is benefited by investigative journalists.

"But that should happen within the framework of the law. You can't commit a crime to obtain information," he said.

Niclas Rislund said that he had had contact with the people mentioned but denied the crimes he is accused of - two incidents of posing as a public official.

"I have never said that I was from the police, I have never given the impression of being from the police," he said.

Three witnesses, who were summoned to the court by the prosecutor, were cross-examined during the morning session.

One of them was the person who was responsible for recovering Fabian Bengtsson's car after it was found in Majorna in Gothenburg. The second witness was a colleague.

The colleague had been called up by someone who wanted to speak to the person who collected the car. But the car collector had the day off and his colleague did not want to give out his private number.

The colleague said he got the impression that the person calling was a police officer.

"He began asking questions like a policeman. Why, I asked him, are you from the police?"

The prosecutor asked what the answer had been.

"Yes," said the witness. "I said, why didn't you tell me that straight away?"

He then gave the private number to the journalist - even though it should never have been given to anyone other than the police, he said.

The third witness for the prosecution was a man working in the police's Nordic cooperation office in London. He told the court that he had been called by someone who gave his name and then said he was "a colleague from Gothenburg".

The witness emphasised that the word "colleague" in police circles clearly means another police officer.

The caller wanted information about investigations in London regarding the Bengtsson case.

The man in London said he was willing to help his "colleague" but first wanted a confirmation, by email or fax, of his identity. He never received that, he said, and did not give out any information.

The trial continues.

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