New authority should grant retrials

A proposed new authority will make it easier for people wrongly convicted of a crime to get a retrial. The Chancellor of Justice is set to recommend that an independent authority should assume the powers of granting retrials from the Office of the Public Prosecutor.

“It is difficult for the Public Prosecutor to take a middle standpoint on these cases,” Chancellor of Justice Göran Lambertz told The Local.

“I would prefer for an independent body to make these decisions, as is already the case in England for example,” said Lambertz.

And Chief Public Prosecutor Fredrik Wersäll reveals that he would not be opposed to such a change.

“At the end of the day it is a political question and it is up to the government to decide. But if it is found that the issue of retrials should be initiated outside the Office of the Public Prosecutor then I have nothing against it,” Wersäll told Dagens Nyheter.

A total of eleven people sentenced to three years or more in prison have been granted retrials since 1990. Of the eleven, three were convicted of murder and eight for sexually assaulting children.

When the cases were retried, all eleven were released on the grounds that they had been wrongly convicted. The Chief Public Prosecutor however had opposed retrials in nine of the eleven cases.

Göran Lambertz told The Local that the chances of his proposal gaining acceptance are “rather good”. If so, he expects the new body to be up and running approximately two years from now.