Two men held over Gotland stabbing

A murder, a slew of firework injuries, assault, arson and domestic violence summed up New Year's Eve in many parts of Sweden.

In Visby on Gotland a man was stabbed a mere half hour into 2009. Police confirmed on Thursday afternoon that two men had been arrested in connection with the attack which has been classified as murder.

“We have arrested two men in their thirties who are previously known to the police. The development of the investigation during the night and this morning have enabled us to focus our suspicions in their direction,” said Fredrik Persson of Visby police to news agency TT.

The deceased man, confirmed to be in his thirties, was stabbed at 12.30am on New Year’s Day in Visby on the Baltic island of Gotland. He was rushed to hospital in an ambulance but was declared dead on arrival.

The new year started inauspiciously as reports of firework injuries, assault, arson and domestic violence filtered through from across Sweden on New Year’s Day morning.

A 12-year-old boy was injured by a firework in Gråska in Hallstavik north of Stockholm when his family let off a so-called fireworks chest in their back garden.

“The final rocket in the chest veered in the wrong direction and hit the boy in the eye. He was taken to hospital in an ambulance helicopter but was conscious and could be spoken to. It is as yet unknown how badly damaged his eye is,” said Ann-Charlotte Wejnäs at Stockholm police.

A teenage girl in Bromölla and a man in Karlshamn in southern Sweden were hit by fireworks as new year celebrations soured. The girl is reported to have sustained only minor injuries while the man is reported to have suffered burns.

More than 30 fires broke out in the southern province of Skåne during the night as fire-fighting resources were stretched to their limit. An apartment was destroyed in Ystad and a school building was burned down in the Malmö suburb of Holma.

“The remainder were mostly car fires, fires in skips and refuse rooms. We don’t yet know if the fires were caused by fireworks or general arson attacks and vandalism,” said Sofie Österheim at Skåne police.

The police have been inundated with reports of the careless and irresponsible use of fireworks and bangers.

“We have received masses of complaints. Among others a young girl was hit by a banger in Vårby, but without serious injury. There has also been a slew of domestic fights and fires in cars and on balconies,” said Ann-Charlotte Wejnäs at Stockholm police.


Sweden’s ‘snippa’ rape case to go to the High Court

When Sweden's appeals court threw out a guilty verdict in a child rape case over the meaning of 'snippa', a child's word for a vagina, it caused a scandal in Sweden. Now, the Swedish Supreme Court wants to hear from the Court of Appeals about its decision.  

Sweden's 'snippa' rape case to go to the High Court

Attorney General Petra Lundh criticised the appeals court for “a number of serious miscarriages of justice” in the way it dealt with the case. 

The man had been sentenced to three years imprisonment in 2021 after the district court heard how he, in the prosecutor’s words, had “by sticking his hand inside the plaintiff’s shorts and underwear, holding his hand on the the girl’s ‘snippa’ and having a finger inside her ‘snippa’, performed a sexual act” on her. 

The girl’s testimony was found to be credible, in part because she had told her mother about the incident on their way home.

But in February this year, the appeals court threw out the conviction, arguing that it was unclear what the girl means by the word snippa, a word taught to Swedish children to refer to female genitalia.

Despite agreeing with the district court that the man had touched the girl between her legs and inserted his finger into her snippa, the court found that it could not be determined whether the girl was referring to her vulva or to her vagina.

If the man had inserted his finger into her vagina, that would have met the standard to be classified as rape. Because the girl said that his finger was “far in”, but could not state exactly how far, the appeals court found that it could not establish beyond doubt that the man had inserted his finger in her vagina and not her the vulva.

Because no lower-grade charges, such as sexual abuse or molestation, had been filed against the man, the appeals court could not consider other offences.

This week, the Attorney General lodged a complaint with the Supreme Court against the appeal court’s decision. Now the Swedish Supreme Court has given the appeals court until April 12 to explain its decision-making in the case.

The Supreme Court has not decided whether it will hear an appeal against the decision to clear the man of rape charges.