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Ex-police chief case opened as trial begins

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13:27 CEST+02:00
A Swedish court has decided to make public most of the police investigation into alleged sex crimes by former police chief Göran Lindberg, whose high profile trial begins on Tuesday.

Lindberg is charged with 23 counts of sex offences, including several against young women, with one girl as young as 14-years-old.

Consequent to the trial, Södertorn District court opened up the investigation to media scrutiny following criticism of the prosecutor's decision to classify the material. However, certain details will not be revealed in order to protect the identities of the women.

"Confidentiality stipulations have been lifted for the majority of the information. That which remains protected is primarily. That which remains classified is primarily the plaintiffs, their names and other information that could identify them," said the responsible district court judge Lars Tomth.

The entire investigation comprises 2,700 pages. About 300 pages have been deleted entirely, which include testimonies, psychologist notes, addresses and pictures relating to the plaintiffs.

"There are always difficult decisions to make," said Tomth. "However, there is a balance between the intense public interest and the considerations of these women. We have taken this position, while the prosecutor is making a different assessment."

The investigation was last week classified by the prosecutor, Håkan Roswall, but on Monday, the district court was given its chance to rule and elected to overturn the prior decision.

Roswall declined to comment on the district court's assessment on Monday, news agency TT reported.

The court trial of of the former Uppsala police chief and internationally renowned speaker on equality issues, will open on Tuesday and the case has attracted massive media interest.

Several of the 23 charges faced by Lindberg are crimes characterised by sadism and violence, where women were shackled and beaten before he violated them. He is suspected of aggravated rape of a 17-year-old girl, three rapes and preparation for aggravated child rape and 10 cases of pimping and several cases of buying sex.

Three other men are accused of buying sex and in several cases Lindberg is accused of mediating contact with the women, driving them to the hotel and taking payment for the sexual services rendered.

In a hearing, Lindberg recounted how he decided to meet with a girl in Falun who was 14 at the time. He said that he thought the girl was older, 18 or 19. She thought it was exciting with a mature man, he said, and he thought it was exciting with a young girl.

He is suspected in the case of conspiring to commit the aggravated rape of a child, or preparation of aggravated rape. He denies these allegations.

Lawyer Caroline Reiner is assisting four of the plaintiffs and expressed concern over the confidentiality of her clients after the court decision on Monday.

"I hope that they do not relinquish secrecy in the plaintiff's testimonies," she said. "There are many ways to find out who they are. Release the hearings and spread them on the internet so it can, for example, influence the testimonies from those who will be heard from."

However, lawyer Elisabeth Massi Fritz, who is representing one of the plaintiffs, told TT that the district court's decision was expected.

"In my 20 years working with sex crimes, I have never encountered a confidentiality classification for an entire investigation," she said.

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