Ex-police chief case opened as trial begins

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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Sweden breaks yearly record for fatal shootings

A man was shot to death in Kristianstad, Skåne, late on Thursday night. He is the 48th person to be shot dead in Sweden this year, meaning that the previous record for most fatal shootings in one year set in 2020 has now been broken.

Sweden breaks yearly record for fatal shootings

“Unfortunately we can’t say more than that he’s in his twenties and we have no current suspects,” duty officer Mikael Lind told TT newswire.

According to police statistics, this most recent deadly shooting means that 48 people have been shot to death in 2022, meaning that Sweden has broken a new record for deadly shootings per year.

Earlier this week, Sweden’s police chief Anders Thornberg said that this number is likely to rise even higher before the end of the year.

“It looks like we’re going to break the record this year,” he told TT on Tuesday. “That means – if it continues at the same pace – around 60 deadly shootings.”

“If it ends up being such a large increase that would be very unusual,” said Manne Gerell, criminiologist at Malmö University.

“We saw a large increase between 2017 and 2018, and we could see the same now, as we’re on such low figures in Sweden. But it’s still worrying that it’s increasing by so much over such a short time period,” he said.

There also seems to be an upwards trend in the number of shootings overall during 2022. 273 shootings had occured by September 1st this year, compared with 344 for the whole of 2021 and 379 for the whole of 2020.

If shootings continue at this rate for the rest of 2022, it is likely that the total number for the year would be higher than 2021 and 2020. There are, however, fewer injuries.

“The majority of shootings cause no injuries, but this year, mortality has increased substantially,” Gerell explained. “There aren’t more people being shot, but when someone is shot, they’re more likely to die.”

Thursday’s shooting took place in Kristianstad, but it’s only partially true that deadly gun violence is becoming more common in smaller cities.

“It’s moved out somewhat to smaller cities, but we’re overexaggerating that effect,” Gerell said. “We’re forgetting that there have been shootings in other small cities in previous years.”

A report from the Crime Prevention Council (Brå) presented last spring showed that Sweden, when compared with 22 different countries in Europe, was the only one with an upwards trend for deadly shootings.

Temporary increases can be seen during some years in a few countries, but there were no countries which showed such a clear increase as Sweden has seen for multiple years in a row, according to Brå.

The Swedish upwards trend for deadly gun violence began in the beginning of the 2000s, but the trend took off in 2013 and has continued to increase since.

Eight of ten deadly shootings take place in criminal environments, the study showed. The Swedish increase has taken place in principle only among the 20-29 year old age group.

When police chief Anders Thornberg was asked how the trend can be broken, he said that new recruitments are one of the most important factors.

“The most important thing is to break recruitment, make sure we can listen encrypted and that we can get to the profits of crime in a better way,” he said.