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Woman imprisoned after beating violent husband

Peter Vinthagen Simpson · 30 Dec 2010, 08:14

Published: 30 Dec 2010 08:14 GMT+01:00

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The woman was previously acquitted by the district court, which considered her actions to be in self-defence as the man was causing her physical harm at the time.

The appeals court (Hovrätten) on Wednesday however overturned the lower court's decision, arguing that the woman had exceeded the right of self-defence as she had deliberately used a knife with an intent to harm her husband.

According to court documents, an argument between the couple had spiralled out of control.

When the woman went to leave the kitchen of their home, the man blocked her path and according to her testimony he hit her on the arm and held a tight grip of her shoulder.

Despite the court finding that the woman had indeed sustained injuries, and found no grounds to doubt that she feared further physical injury, it was argued that her use of a knife was not in proportion to the violence to which she herself was subjected.

The court argued that as the violence meted out to the woman was not "life-threatening" she had no right to defend herself in such a manner as to endanger her husband's life by directing a blow with the knife at his chest.

Story continues below…

The court found that she had both intended to use the knife and to cause harm, and stated that the blow could have constituted a prison term of 18 months, but in the circumstances decided to serve a lesser penalty of six months imprisonment.

The appeals court was not however united in its decision with two lay assessors dissenting on the grounds that they did not believe that the woman intended to harm her husband.

Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

09:33 December 30, 2010 by Thorfinna
Incredible, what was she supposed to do, let her abusive husband kill her or injure her badly that she would end up in hospital and/or have sustained damages for the rest of her life?????????????

So to all of you out there who are physically abused, sorry people, you have to take it and not defend yourselves because if you do, you will be jailed and your abuser free as a bird and doing it again to someone else.....

Justice my ass!!!Justice for who??? always for the bad guys, always!!!! What a world we live in....
09:41 December 30, 2010 by dwb5555

Yes she was to let him beat her more before going for a knife. That is standard protocol. You should have some broken bones and black guy before going for the knife.

Just kidding, this is crazy, how was she going to think oh have he hurt me enough before I can defend my self. And was he a repeat abuser.

I will never understand the system in Sweden, a court of law says you are not guilty and that should be it. Why do you have to be tried again in appeals court.

And why did the prosecutor push this case.
09:53 December 30, 2010 by Arturio
Typical example of a crap democratic system
10:01 December 30, 2010 by UScitizen

broken bones and black guy ? A BLACK GUY?? Would that help? Yeah, we all make typing errors.

I want to wish all the Local commentors a happy and safe new year. I enjoy reading the rants, raves, and funny remarks.
10:17 December 30, 2010 by StockholmSam

Yep, you sure don't get stuff like this in a dictatorship, do you?
10:43 December 30, 2010 by Uriel9
None of you know the circumstances of this case, neither do i. So im gonna make an objective judgement of what is most likely.

Most likely is that they had a fight and the woman stabbed the man out of rage rather than self-defence.

And that is probably the courts view also.

If there's no evidence of otherwise you can't just assume the guy is an evil bastard and throw him in jail.
10:55 December 30, 2010 by Brtahan
The court had the right decesion!!! if a person slaps you you cannt shoot him, in self defence. If this allowed police would have killed many ppl in the name of self defence.
11:12 December 30, 2010 by johnny1939
"intended to cause harm"? How does the court know this and what could have followed. All I have to add is, never get involved with the vagaries of the Swedish "justice system". I think that I would be very afraid to report a crime in Sweden. I might cost me dearly.
11:16 December 30, 2010 by Pont-y-garreg
Why does the headline say that she was imprisoned after "beating" her husband? She didn't beat him she stabbed him.
11:18 December 30, 2010 by calebian22
He grabbed her arm and blocked her path. She stabbed him in the chest. A bruised arm versus a gaping knife wound?

Good court decision.
11:20 December 30, 2010 by comentatir

black guy?? I guess you meant to write "black eye" Your subconscious is playing games with you... =D
11:28 December 30, 2010 by salalah

If I get a black guy who is big and strong, I will not need a knife ;)
11:36 December 30, 2010 by Soft Boiled
How dare she defend herself!! I hope they throw away the key!
12:27 December 30, 2010 by darky
But why should a woman raise a knife against me? Means she wants to kill me. I better kill her before she kills me. She's dead I must say.
12:29 December 30, 2010 by zircon
Some women (Swedish and English mostly) are plain bastards. And extremely violent. What's the worry?
12:35 December 30, 2010 by RobinHood
We are all allowed to defend ourselves from violent attack by way of a proportionate defence.

In this case a woman was hit on her arm and held by her shoulder. She defended herself by stabbing her attacker in the chest. The judge held attempted murder was not a proprionate response. I agree.

She should have got longer than six months though.
12:51 December 30, 2010 by Kevin Harris
The Local

Pont-y-garreg at @9 has a point. The headline above is incorrect. We, and this senstitive issue, deserve better journalism.

Change it please.
13:41 December 30, 2010 by unseen

good one

13:55 December 30, 2010 by shame, shame
so much for Julian Assange's assertion that "Sweden is the Saudi Arabia of feminism". No, means no Jools.
14:19 December 30, 2010 by idylie
How would she beat a man using only her fists? She had to use a weapon to compensate her weakness, and she probably hit the first point that was within range, that means the chest, he was not only stronger but probably also taller. And she did not kill him, he's fine. He will just hesitate a bit more before he tries to beat a woman again.

At the same times several cases of rapes have been sentenced with only two years jail, when the victims are surely under a lifetime trauma.

Justice in Sweden is like justice in France, the juges smokes grass and don't care about the consequences of their actions, they are above the laws that they are supposed to follow.
14:31 December 30, 2010 by Sheba
i'm waiting for the day a man tries to hit me......still waiting....
14:33 December 30, 2010 by Southerner Up North
Nothing is mentioned in this report about previous abuse that she may have sustained. Victims of abuse sometimes snap and react in a way that would be considered inappropriate when taking the immediate action into consideration. But in the victims mind their life is in danager - even if this time she was "just pushed".
14:58 December 30, 2010 by Swedesmith
What the article does not mention is if there was a past history of violence by the husband.
17:09 December 30, 2010 by Raiha
Uriel9, Brtahan, Calebian, & RobinHood (#6, #7, #10, and #16)

You all miss the point completely. The minute he attempted to stop her from leaving by causing her physical harm (as written above) he deserved whatever he got. Is it logical to hit another human being and maintain an expectation that they can only harm you back with equal measure???

Do you also believe that if an intruder breaks into my house I cannot point a gun at him in defense of my children and myself until we've sat down, had a cup of tea, and established whether he's there to rob me or rape me? In the first instance I should let him take my wallet, in the second, I'm not entitled to shoot him until he forcefully penetrates me???

This story disgusts me because I have intimate, first hand experience of being a battered wife. How dare you debate the 'quality or proportionality' of the violence she used when the simple fact is, there would be no need for self defense if he hadn't harmed her in the first place.
17:57 December 30, 2010 by Icarusty
Nothing wrong with white women getting a black guy, if hubby can't take it that's his problem.
19:26 December 30, 2010 by calebian22

First of all, we don't know what happened. Maybe her bruised arm occured when he was defending himself from her knife attack. Maybe there was a history of violence, maybe this was an isolated incident. As others have pointed out there is a lot of information that we are not privy too.

However, at the simplest level, a knife thrust to the chest is not a reasonable response to a bruised arm. Sadly, based on your stated history, I understand why you cannot see this clearly.
19:27 December 30, 2010 by Hoath
To play devil's advocate; the story mentions no prior domestic abuse and the only evidence that the husband started the violence is from the women who killed him.
20:08 December 30, 2010 by RobinHood
@ Raiha

"... he deserved whatever he got. "

Fortunately for us all, the law in most civilised countries disagrees with you. The law is perfectly clear. You cannot shoot an intruder in your house. Nor may you shoot someone who tries to take your wallet. If you were to do so, you would certainly commit a crime. It might be lawful for you to shoot someone who tries to rape you; before and during; but not after.

Your comment "How dare you debate the 'quality or proportionality' .." shows your complete ignorance on the subject. The judge spent this entire case deciding on proportionality. Propotionality is what the law of self defence is based on.

There are plenty of countries where your strange views are acceptable. I suggest you move to: Iran, Afghanistan, certain US states, or Saudi Arabia.
21:13 December 30, 2010 by idylie
@RobinHood how can you decide that one's opinion is more suitable for Iran, Afghanistan, certain US states, or Saudi Arabia? Most europeans would completly agree with her, me included. If someone is attacking me or one I love I'm not going to calculate if my answer is proportional, I would do all I can to defend myself and the ones I love, if we can't escape.
21:21 December 30, 2010 by anticommie
Glad I am in America were we are still allowed to defend ourselves against harm. Sucks to be you women in sweden just take your beating like a good little victim.
21:27 December 30, 2010 by wxman
What the f**k? Defending yourself against deadly force is a crime? The mind boggles.
21:56 December 30, 2010 by mdmandklm
Court Justices are the same everywhere.

Give me a break. She was merely trying to stroke him with the knife.
22:07 December 30, 2010 by Swedemom
Do you think the husband would have gotten the same sentence if he had stabbed his wife?
22:12 December 30, 2010 by zircon
And long they lived happily ever after. 2011 Is just around the corner. Go and enjoy.
23:00 December 30, 2010 by Viola1d
I can't see how there aren't any protests' of this decision. I really hope they take this to a higher court. But I could be wrong to point fingers though, the only thing I would say is, if she were able to defend herself physically against her husband, then she really had no right to use a knife. But if he could clearly over power her, then she would not have a chioce but to use a weapon to defend herself. So before I have those facts then I can't really complain. Because it would be wrong of her to use a weapon if she LOOKED capable if defending herself. But in some cases ofcourse, men are usually stronger than women, that's why it seems like this is a rediculous decision.
23:13 December 30, 2010 by my.say
Its a shame for everyone who commented out of their own personal/emotional point of views when its plain and simple. Should follow the golden rule: "do not do unto others what you don't want others would do unto you" but if you do harm someone out of your own pleasure of doing it then you deserve to have the taste of your own medicine:-))
00:39 December 31, 2010 by believe
The Local has a habit of not reporting all the facts in most of their stories. It doesn't make good journalism, but it makes great dialogue from all of you! I don't read the stories for the story itself....it is all of you who make the story more interesting to me. Thanks for all the great reading and Happy New Year!

P.S. My guess on this story is he is an abuser and she was just letting him know she was done with his sh*t. Who knows...maybe she meant to do more damage then she did? Hope she doesn't finish him off when she gets out!
01:47 December 31, 2010 by volvoman9
@Raiha. Bravo girl. Violence against anyone is wrong and this is especially true of women and children or the aged. Our outrage over this behavior is what demonstrates our social development.

@robinhood Your response is disgusting and bigoted. Am I to assume your lack of compassion is based merely on your assumption that this poster is a woman of middle eastern decent. Your sentiment toward the oppressed is more akin to the repression that you imagine to be a part of the culture you profess to hate.
08:12 December 31, 2010 by wriggle
I don't think anyone can say she shouldn't have the right to defend herself but you can't stab someone in the chest just because they punch you in the arm. There's a big difference in the seriousness of the attacks.
08:54 December 31, 2010 by Milkshake
I know only too well from first hand experience what it feels like to be terrified of the man you're living with who says he 'loves' you. I too was physically attacked in a kitchen by my former husband and quite frankly, if I'd had the chance to grab a knife I probably would have done so-anything to stop him beating me.

At the time I thought he was going to kill me. This kind of attack never ever leaves you and has made me wary of what men can do to you from that day to this. Most women are completely out strengthed by men and the men know it.
11:04 December 31, 2010 by J.Darling
Well, maybe now she will leave him. Six months seems like a small price to pay for the satisfaction of leaving him with the memory of the knife and perhaps a scar or two.
13:00 December 31, 2010 by dwb5555
It seems I made a mistake. I did mean black eye and not black guy. however i enjoy the funny comments to point out y mistake.
23:07 December 31, 2010 by ryclea
Obviously, there are details of the altercation that we don't know. Hopefully the court heard the whole story, but as to whether the defense was proportionate to the attack, let's not forget the obvious: Men are bigger and stronger than women. A woman being attacked by a man has every right to grab a weapon to level the field. If she had gotten away to safety and then went back and stabbed him, that would be assault. Stabbing him to stop his attack is justified self-defense, even if she had killed him.
01:30 January 1, 2011 by DAVID T
Poor guy - at least he'll have a peaceful xmas
06:37 January 1, 2011 by waffen
The use of a good kick to the groin, followed by another good kick to the groin, would negate deadly force with a weapon.

There is not a man strong enough to take a good, strong kick to the groin and still remain upright, and a second strong kick to the same area will assure that he will stay supine.

Now a third kick could easily be classified as rage, especially when the judge is a man, whereas the same could be justified as just what he deserves when the judge is a woman.

However, a third such kick might negate the husband permanently.
19:08 January 1, 2011 by Takai
Ladies and gentlemen,

Being a woman or a man, I guess the law says you can not kill or injury badly someone who invades your house or use of "small violence" against you. The law is clear.

That the jail time is six months, one or two years, I will gladly take it, no regrets, very proud, knowing that the judge that determined this sentence to me would have done just the same.

I also think she does not regret it any time. She should not, at least.
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