Sweden’s Supreme Court to rule on teen sex

Sweden's highest court is to determine whether sex between teenagers, where one is under the age of consent, is to be considered sexual abuse of a minor, the court said on Friday.

The Supreme Court said it had agreed to review the case of a 17-year-old boy who had sex with a 14-year-old girl. The age of consent in Sweden is 15.

A lower court found the boy guilty of sexual abuse of a minor, but an appeals court overturned the ruling on the grounds that the age difference between the two was minimal.

The pair were not dating but were friends. The boy has testified that the intercourse was consensual, an argument which both courts accepted, while the girl said it was not.

The Supreme Court only agrees to rule on select cases, usually when errors have been committed in lower courts or when a case may set a precedent.

Lena Raasjoe, a Supreme Court law clerk, said the body had agreed to study this case because of new, tougher sex crime laws introduced in the Scandinavian country in April 2005.

“The new law has a stricter view of sex with children under the age of 15. It provides stronger protection for children,” Raasjoe told AFP.

The law stipulates that two teens who are close in age can have sex — often referred to as a “Romeo and Juliet” clause — but it does not specify exactly how close in age they must be.

As a result, the appeals court had acquitted the boy because it found that the pair were only two-and-a-half years apart in age — he was 17 years and one month and she was 14 years and seven months.