In a letter to Sweden’s highest legal official, Chancellor of Justice (JK) Göran Lambertz, Schürrer claims to have experienced “biased judges who follow their own convictions” and “incompetent prosecutors” who don’t wait for DNA evidence to press ahead with their case.
Schürrer calls on Lambertz to broaden a debate over the quality control of evidence in criminal cases to ensure that the aim of “how it should look” comes closer to “how it does look” in reality.
Christine Schürrer was sentenced to life imprisonment in October 2008 for the murder of two young children and the attempted murder of their mother in Arboga on March 17th 2008.
Her life sentence was upheld by the Court of Appeal (Hovrätten) in February. Schürrer has since appealed the decision to Swedish Supreme Court (Högsta domstolen).
Her lawyer, Per-Ingvar Ekblad, has argued that there are no clear legal grounds for the conviction as the evidence presented does not meet legal requirements for a conviction.
Ekblad based the appeal on the argument that there is scope to cast doubt on the interpretation of the principle of “beyond reasonable doubt”.
In her letter Schürrer commends Lambertz for showing a willingness to discuss issues of law and order with regard to the submission of evidence in criminal cases.
Schürrer is referring to a debate article penned by Lambertz and published in Dagens Nyheter on September 18th 2008 in which he addresses the issue of how a reliable conviction can be secured when the accused denies the offence.
Lambertz concedes that “some judges placed demands on evidence below that required for the principle of ‘beyond reasonable doubt’.”
Lambertz confirmed in his article that he planned to review certain law and order issues and address the margin of error permitted in court to ensure that this principle is upheld in Sweden’s courts.
Lambertz does not refer to Schürrer’s case in his article.
Schürrer describes Lambertz as “naive” when he argues in his article that if legal procedures, including the thorough structuring of evidence, were followed then personal convictions will decline in importance.
She argues that the human factor will always remain and challenges Lambertz to address the issue of how it can be ensured that the Swedish courts act without bias and prevent the “anarchic situation that exists in Swedish courts”.
Schürrer recommends a more thorough education for judges and court officials and tighter supervision of the courts.
Christine Schürrer concludes her letter by arguing that Göran Lambertz lives in “a dream world” when he suggests that a “clarification of the courts’ duties and responsibilities” will ensure that the principle of “beyond reasonable doubt” is followed as closely as possible.
She adds that “Sweden has a long way to go to reach this situation, and to be able to call itself a state governed by law”.