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Prosecutor reported over rape comments

Peter Vinthagen Simpson · 17 Aug 2009, 10:44

Published: 17 Aug 2009 10:44 GMT+02:00

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Hillegren made his comments in an interview with the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper discussing a landmark ruling by the Swedish Supreme Court (Högsta Domstolen) that set new guidelines for rape cases.

The court ruled that testimony alone should not be sufficient to secure a conviction. Hillegren expressed satisfaction that the law and order aspect was to be underlined.

"There should be a high demand on evidence in criminal cases, even sex cases," he said to the newspaper.

"When one says rape one thinks mostly of really nasty rapes. But take a man and a woman who know each other and the woman says she doesn't feel like it today, but the man just goes ahead anyway. Sure, it is not very nice, but maybe not worth two years in prison. It is more like a regulatory offence," he said.

Hillegren's comments have prompted a storm of reactions from angry readers; among them Peter Sunde, one of the founders of The Pirate Bay, who has reported the lawyer to the Ombudsman of Justice (JO).

"At first I presumed that he had been misquoted by SvD, but then I realized that they are usually very thorough. I therefore reported him to JO and I encourage all the readers of my blog to the same thing," Sunde wrote on his blog.

Reactions from colleagues have also been critical of Hillegren's comments.

Story continues below…

"I don't think that they are at all representative of prosecutors in general," said Prosecutor-General Anders Perklev, to SvD.

Perklev argued that Hillegren's comments are to be considered of a private nature and while his position demands that he follows current legislation, he currently has no grounds for suspecting that Hillegren does not do so.

Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

12:18 August 17, 2009 by Russ Cobleigh
rape is rape and no means no!
12:39 August 17, 2009 by soultraveler3
What a complete idiot! He's pretty much saying that if a guy knows a girl a little and doesn't beat the sh#t out of her it's ok to rape her. What a scumbag, he should be fired!
12:52 August 17, 2009 by peropaco
No wonder the prison sentence for rapes in Sweden is so low when we have snos mentality like this.
13:21 August 17, 2009 by Tennin
I'm shocked anyone can even make a comment like that about rape, even more so for someone who is in his position. It's no wonder why Sweden is so easy on rape.
14:02 August 17, 2009 by Renfeh Hguh
If I am not mistaken, under Swedish law if a sambo or särbo do not consent to sex they can have their partner charged for rape.

If this is in fact the case and also it is in this context that the comments were made, then it seems to me that he is voicing a reasonable opinion that it should be treated as a misdemeanour rather than treating exactly the same as when a stranger rapes another person. The factors are vastly different in the two situations and should be treated as such.
15:17 August 17, 2009 by Mack
This guy should be fired immediately. I don't agree that if the two people know each other or not has anything to do with it. Most women I know that have been raped were raped by someone they knew. It was no less traumatic to them.

I guess guys like this are why downloading music gets tougher sentences then rape in Sweden. Imagine also how women reading this will feel. Something bad happens to them but they will be more likely to decide that it is not worth trying to prosecute if the rapist is being protected by idiots like this.
15:26 August 17, 2009 by Playmaker
so if a husband has sex with his wife say while she passed out drunk he should get the same punishment as a women being raped in the woods and getting the sh*t beat out of her? i dont know i think there is a differance
15:38 August 17, 2009 by Kaethar
It's all about context. In Sweden acts that get classified as rape are NOT classified as rape in the UK or US. It's got nothing to do with "no means no." He's saying this is still a crime, just that it's a lesser one. As it currently is in Sweden a woman can not want sex but her husband convinces her to (without violence) and she can report it and it will be classified as rape. What he is saying here is that there must be evidence of bruising (violence) or vaginal tearing/bruising (pain) for it to be classified as rape with a two year sentence. If it's not it'll be seen as a lesser crime which will end in a couple of months in prison or a heavy fine. Am I the only one who sees nothing wrong with this?
16:07 August 17, 2009 by Playmaker
no you are right on the mark
16:17 August 17, 2009 by Texrusso
U guys often throw tantrum without proper understanding of phrases, is it because your judgment is just clouded trying to play God here. See, what the guy is saying is this, for example if I have lived with my wife for 10 years and one nite she wants to have sex and I am too tired and says no and she therefore went ahead and seduce me into it. Should I go to complain against rape? Many women especially do this when they want to get back at the guy over some issue, expecially if you cheat on them or have a serious misunderstanding over other personal issues. What the guy is saying is that, we must look are facts and evidence in these cases. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THAT???????
16:33 August 17, 2009 by eZee.se
"I guess guys like this are why downloading music gets tougher sentences then rape in Sweden. Imagine also how women reading this will feel."

Ummm no, the reason you get tougher sentences on downloading is because corporations are losing their monopoly/power/maybe some money/etc and thus using a lot of money for bribing and changing laws to their advantage. They dont want to go the way of the dodo even though their business models are far outdated in line with the dodo so they are fighting back as much as they can with scumbag laws and even scummier lawyers.

As for the rape issue, while I think rape is a crime committed by cowards and sickos who should be punished much harder than currently under Swedish law, I think in this case Kaethar, paymaker and texrusso have pretty much said what I wanted to say on this subject.
22:05 August 17, 2009 by DStrope
the scum bag is as bad as a rapist, am sure he doesn't have a daughter or a wife
22:20 August 17, 2009 by Puffin
That's an interesting rationalisation - but it is not actually what he said - his actual words were that he doesn't believe it is rape if the victim and accused know each other and - that a if a woman says no to someone she knows then it is not a "real rape".

Obviously a man who does not believe that women have the right to say no
05:06 August 18, 2009 by caitlinnor
I think a key point here is the difference between the word "convince" and "force". Does "convince" in this context mean "talk into sex" or does it mean "convince" with the threat of violence? It seems odd for a society to prosecute a man who talked his partner into sex. As adults we should all be accountable for our actions and if we consent we shouldn't be able to go to the police and ask that he be arrested. What would the crime be, he shouldn't have guilt tripped her into it?

However, that is not what the prosecutor said. He didn't say "I think men who are able to talk their partners into having sex is a lesser crime". He didn't make it clear whether "going ahead with it" was physically forcing her, or whether it was trying to convince her to have sex. People should always feel like they can say no to sex and not be physically forced, regardless of whether it is a stranger, or "someone they know" or their spouse of 30 years.
13:57 August 18, 2009 by Kaethar
@Puffin: That's not how I understood it. I understood it as being non-violent with someone you'd normally have sex with. Since the woman is unwilling it's still a crime but shouldn't end with 2 years in jail. At least that's my interpretation of what he said. Apparently plenty of people disagree...


"It seems odd for a society to prosecute a man who talked his partner into sex."

Welcome to Sweden. =D

Although the former would be hard to prove as well (the threatening) but what he said doesn't mention threatening so I don't think that's the scenario he was referring to.
13:44 August 19, 2009 by here for the summer
kaethar I don't think your translation is correct. Talking someone into consenting to sex is not a crime in Sweden. I am afraid he meant that "date rape" should not be punished at the same level. Date rape is hard to prove especially if it is combined with massive alcohol abuse all to common. But if it can be proven then the rape itself should not be punished less. Violent rapes can be punished more by adding assault or even kidnapping.
14:50 August 19, 2009 by Puffin
Don't you think that a woman has the right to say no then? Do you think that if you have previously had sex with a person then they have the right to continue to have sex with you whenever they want against your will?

Don't you think it is an act of violence if someone forces you to have sex against your will? We are talking about force (greater strength/weight) used - We are not talking about someone being persuaded.

I think that for many women date rape is extremely traumatic - who would you feel if the situation was reversed and someone you knew assaulted you and forced something into your genital area against your will - would you regard it as a minor incident.

The prosecutors use of the legal term "ordningsförseelser" in legal terms does not really mean "misdemeanor" in the same way as the US - in Sweden examples of "ordningsförseelser" would be

- minor traffic offences

- forgetting to apply for a building permit

- causing a public nuisance

As a prosecutor he will be well aware of this

Is this really how people see sexual violence against women?
16:25 August 19, 2009 by Puffin
Well - he has now been removed from any further involvement in sexual assault cases after a deabte article he wrote

Don't think it was such a great idea to write a debate article today saying that the law should not be involved in issues of sexual consent - and he wrote

"Not having sexual intercourse against another's will is an excellent social rule - however one that is more suited to ettiquette books than law books"

"Att inte ha samlag mot någons vilja är en utmärkt umgängesregel som dock passar bättre i etikettböcker än i lagböcker


17:26 August 19, 2009 by Leprehcaun
Am I getting this right? Are there ppl here who think that this husband has done nothing wrong?

It is true that someone who is raped and beaten up has been violated against differently than someone who is raped. Both are still raped; it doesn't matter whether it's her husband or a stranger, rape is always rape. This is sickening. How can you cover their asses?! This is.. ... wrong..

Rape, in any form, should give you at least 16 years of jail time. Violent rapes higher than that. Our justice system is a bloody joke.. we should adopt an americanized system. "300 years in jail for murder" is just so.. so right hahahha
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