Persbrandt meets Expressen in court

The editor of Sweden's second largest tabloid newspaper, Expressen, is facing a court in Stockholm after the paper wrongly reported that actor Mikael Persbrandt had been admitted to a clinic suffering from acute alcohol poisoning.

Expressen editor Otto Sjöberg is facing charges of criminal libel. The case has been brought by the Chancellor of Justice, the government’s most senior legal representative.

Mikael Persbrandt initially planned to sue Expressen himself, but Chancellor of Justice Göran Lambertz, who is the only prosecutor who can pursue cases that impinge on press freedom, decided to take over the case after he decided that it was in the public interest.

Persbrandt entered the court just before 9.30am. Asked whether he expected success, the actor replied: “I am an optimist, which is what one should always be.”

It is very rare for the Chancellor of Justice to take on a public prosecution in a press freedom case.

Lambertz decided to press on with the case despite the fact that Expressen apologised for the article two days after publication on December 15th last year, and admitted that it had published “poor journalism.”

The last time the Chancellor of Justice launched a public prosecution in any kind of case was also against an editor of Expressen. In that case, the Chancellor lost against the paper’s then-editor Bo Strömstedt in a case about articles describing an alleged gaming scandal.