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CRIME

Supreme Court overturns child rape ruling

The Swedish Supreme Court has aquitted a childminder of child rape, reducing his conviction to one of child sex assault. The court is taking a less serious view of sex crimes than the government, a senior legal expert says.

The 21-year old Stockholmer had put his hand inside a four-year old boy’s clothing and molested his private parts. The court of appeal found that this consituted child rape, and sentenced him to two years imprisonment for child rape. The Supreme Court decided overturned that decision, and said the man should serve six months for child sex assault.

The court said in its ruling that the man’s attack on the child could not be called rape as it was not comparable to sexual intercourse. He had caused the boy temporary pain, but no detectable physical injury. He had not shown “particular ruthlessness or brutality,” the court ruled, and should therefore only be convicted of child sex assault. The court dismissed the Prosecutor-General’s demand that the assault be classed as a felony.

The decision was condemned by Madeleine Leijonhufvud, professor of criminal law at Stockholm University.

“The Supreme Court seems to be establishing a pattern in which in takes sexual crimes against children less seriously than parliament or the government,” she said to news agency TT.

“The court says that [the boy sustained] no physical injuries, but it has not brought in evidence about how distressing the events were for the boy. A child psychologist would have been able to describe the consequences of an assault such as this for a child’s development,” Leijonhufvud added.

This is the third time the Supreme Court has tried a case under news sexual offences laws enacted last spring. In the two previous cases, involving attacks on teenage girls, the court overturned rape verdicts, replacing them with verdicts of sexual abuse.

“We’re starting to see a pattern,” said Leijonhufvud. “Taken together, these three cases show that the Supreme Court cannot bring itself to follow the directions given when the law was changed.”

TT/The Local

POLITICS

Swedish party leader calls for chemical castration of sex offenders

Sweden's Christian Democrats have called for tougher sentences for sex offenders and making release conditional on chemical castration.

Swedish party leader calls for chemical castration of sex offenders

The Swedish Christian Democrats (KD) leader has called for the chemical castration of certain sex offenders as part of plans for a tougher grip on sexual crime and punishment in Sweden.

Speaking to the Swedish parliament on July 1st, KD party leader Ebba Busch said, “Every day, 27 rapes are reported. How many days must pass before the government takes action?”

“Today we propose that rapists and people who commit sexual crimes against children should be able to be chemically castrated.”

The controversial chemical castration proposal was the headline grabbing soundbite in a broader set of proposals to recalibrate the structure of Sweden’s sexual crime sentencing.

Among KD’s proposed sentencing changes is a life sentence for the aggravated rape of a child, the removal of automatic conditional release for sex offenders, and an increase in the sentence for aggravated rape up to a maximum of 25 years.

In addition, they want a “monitoring period” for convicts who have been released, equivalent to one third of the sentence served.

They also want to establish a national knowledge centre for sexual violence where people who feel that they have “problematic sexuality” can receive support. The center must also “be able to administer chemical castration on a voluntary basis to those who are concerned about unwanted sexual thoughts and impulses and have a compulsive sexuality”.

READ ALSO: What’s the Swedish Christian Democrats’ abortion contract all about?

Chemical castration, she suggested, should be implemented as a condition of release for some sexual offenders. “It may mean that if a person like Nytorgsmannen is to be able to become a free man, a chemical castration must have taken place before the release,” Busch said, referring to Andreas Holm, a man sentenced in 2021 for 35 different crimes including 24 rapes.

But this is not the first time the Christian Democrats have toyed with the idea of chemical castration as a form of legal punishment. As far back as 20 years ago, under former leader Alf Svensson, the right-wing party raised the idea of conditional chemical castration of rapists and pedophiles.

At the time the proposal was rejected by all other parties.

Chemical castration, the process of preventing sex hormone production through chemicals, can reduce sexual libido but the effects on those with deviant behaviours are relatively unknown.

Chemical castration can also prove costly as it is not a one-off treatment but rather requires regular interventions, which means the police would be reliant on those sentences to chemical castration making regular trips to the authorities for further treatment.

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