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Gangster cites sleepy judge in forced tattoo case appeal

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10:27 CEST+02:00
A lay judge slept his way through a court case which resulted in the convictions of two gangsters for forcing an 18-year-old boy to cover an offending tattoo, one of the men has claimed in his appeal to the Supreme Court.

The lay judge had to be woken from his slumbers during the appeals court hearing of the men, members of the notorious south Stockholm "Fucked for Life" organized crime syndicate, who stood accused of using "torture-like" methods to force the teenager to remove an offending tattoo, the man claims in his appeal.

The boy's tattoo boasted the legend Förstörd För Livet (Ruined For Life). He claimed that he liked the way the words sounded together and did not reflect on the fact that they resembled the name of the gang based in Tumba, a suburb in southern Stockholm.

When the matter was brought to the attention of the gang, the men visited the boy and forced him to tattoo over the original in order to maintain respect for the crime syndicate.

The boy's parents also later paid the men 50,000 kronor ($6,400).

The Svea Court of Appeal upheld the Stockholm District Court convictions of the men, imposing an increased penalty of two and a half years imprisonment apiece.

In an appeal to the Supreme Court, Michael Lindén at the Thomas Martinson law firm, argues that his client was prevented from receiving a "fair trial" as the lay judge "dozed off on several occasions during the trial."

"In order for the public to maintain faith in the justice system, it can not be acceptable to pass a unanimous verdict on the increase of a sentence with a sleeping lay judge," Lindén argues in documents submitted to the court.

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