The men were sentenced to four years’ imprisonment for serious assault and manslaughter.
On May 9th 2005 Marcus Gabrielsen, 29, and a friend were chased after asking one of the attackers not to urinate in a doorway on the busy Stockholm street.
They ran from one side of Kungsgatan 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 unconscious. He died in hospital two days later.
In the original trial a 19 year old man was sentenced to a year’s imprisonment for assault, after he admitted kicking Gabrielsen when he was on the ground. But there was no murder conviction due to a lack of forensic and witness evidence at the trial.
Another 19 year old was given a suspended sentence for assaulting Gabrielsen’s friend, while the third man was freed.
In the appeal trial, the prosecutor again attempted to show that the men were guilty of murder. However, it was not proven that the three defendants had caused Gabrielsen to fall.
On the other hand, they were all shown to have taken part in the deliberate attack which led to his death.
But it was not certain that the men would have continued the attack on Gabrielsson if they had realised that he would die. Intent to kill could therefore not be proven, said the Court of Appeal in its verdict.
Violent blows to the head do not carry the same risk of causing death as, for example, use of a gun or knife. But, wrote the court, they nevertheless present a considerable risk to the victim’s health and life.