‘Give suspects legal representation’

A recent investigation has shown that only 7 percent of criminal suspects tried at the Gothenburg courts had legal representatives present when under police interrogation.

Researcher Annkatrin Meyerson, writing in Monday’s Dagens Nyheter newspaper, is particularly troubled by the fact that there are seldom defence lawyers present to represent suspects who are under 18 years of age.

Meyerson’s investigation showed that only 17 out of 142 under-age suspects had a lawyer present during interrogation. Half of all interrogations were held without the involvement of guardians or social services representatives.

Meyerson, who is a law student at the Gothenburg School of Economics, writes that it is up to those investigating each case to decide who should be in attendance for the questioning of suspects.

Sweden has no law giving suspects a right to have a defence laywer present during interrogations. In her article, Meyerson refers to a spate of recent suicides in Swedish remand centres and says that the psychological pressure on suspects can be great if they are on their own.

Meyerson calls for the introduction of a legal obligation to inform a suspect that they have the right to a defence laywer or a legal representative during interrogations.