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'Having sex with scantily-clad women in make-up is not a crime'

The Local · 12 Jan 2011, 12:58

Published: 12 Jan 2011 12:58 GMT+01:00

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The court of appeal has now announced its ruling in the highly publicized pimping and sex buying case in which football goalkeeper Magnus Hedman is one of the defendants.

The court of appeal reversed the district court's acquittal of Hedman and he has now been convicted for the purchase of sexual services, despite his denials. The court's reasoning in this case is fundamentally interesting and not a little alarming.

Here is a brief summary of what happened that night in February last year: Magnus Hedman partied with a friend, eventually becoming extremely intoxicated. Several other people joined the party, including some Romanian women. Hedman's friend took a couple of the Romanians home with him for an after party; Hedman came by himself in a taxi a short time later. Hedman capped off the after party by having sex with one of these women.

And so the question is whether a crime has been committed, as prosecutor Karin Sigstedt puts it. Did Hedman buy sex or let someone else pay? He denies that he paid anything to any of the women or to anyone else in the group; nor has anyone claimed that he did so. The intercourse in question was therefore free of charge.

But should Hedman, despite his high degree of intoxication, have nevertheless understood that some form of monetary transaction took place, or that there was a risk of such a transaction?

And is this proof beyond reasonable doubt?

The district court found that the prosecutor failed to show any evidence to support claims that Hedman knowingly had sexual intercourse with a woman he knew had been paid, or who had obviously been paid by a partying buddy. Its ruling, therefore, was an acquittal.

But the appeals court is of a different opinion.

Indeed the investigation did not show, and with this the court agreed, that Hedman had paid any of the plaintiffs. And indeed the prosecutor was unable to demonstrate that Hedman must have realized early in the evening that prostitution was taking place. That someone in the group said "the girls will be here soon" was simply not enough.

But - and this is what led the court of appeal to a different conclusion and a conviction - Hedman has himself admitted that there was some "running" between the different hotel rooms during the party. Hedman later enjoyed a jacuzzi and drank champagne with the girls during the after party at his friend’s apartment. And the girls were wearing thick make-up and provocatively dressed. In addition, they spoke English with a thick accent.

Therefore "it must have been clear to Magnus Hedman or at least have seemed possible that they were paid escort girls", the appeals court wrote in its judgment.

The "must" in the above sentence leaves me very troubled. Dressed-up women with lots of make-up who speak with accents "must" be seen as whores by law-abiding citizens, sober or not.

This is now settled law according the court of appeal.

Consequently, it is not just that we now live in a country where the state assumes the right to interfere in, and have opinions about, our reasons for having sex with each other. It is not only so that our parliament passes and then threatens to tighten a law that is completely rejected by the group that the law in question is intended to protect, namely: sex workers.

No, now it turns out that the application of this paternalistic moral law elevates absurd prejudices with slightly racist overtones to legal precedent.

According to this view, a city like Stockholm, at least when it’s a little warmer, is simply crawling with whores – made-up and scantily clad women who speak with an accent. And at most parties in hotels that I’ve been to, there has been a certain amount of "running" between the rooms. And the relationship between champagne and prostitution could also be questioned, one might think. Perhaps the court's argument is not quite watertight.

We may assume that the poor lawyers are doing the best they can with the laws our MPs have made. And we can probably also assume that they are about as biased as everybody else. Maybe one shouldn’t be so surprised then that this sort of legislation leads to it being applied in these ways.

It will be interesting to see if the case ends up in the Supreme Court and what will happen if it does. Is it really possible that in a constitutional state someone can be convicted for having sex with a scantily clad woman who speaks with an accent?

Is it really true that she must be a whore? And if so, is it totally impossible to imagine that she engages in a little free sex when her workday is over?

But the fundamental question here is of course this: What do we, or the government, or anyone else, really have to do with any of this? By what right does someone else determine what other consenting adults exercising their free will do with their bodies? And do we really accept that the legal system allocates huge amounts of its scarce resources in this irresponsible way?

Story continues below…

And what was is the consequence? Magnus Hedman is sentenced to 2,500 kronor ($360) in fines.

These follies will continue until the day that Sweden’s laws outlawing the purchase of sexual services undergo a necessary, liberal reform. And there don’t appear to be any signs suggesting that such a day is coming anytime soon.

The centre-right Alliance parties have all changed their tune to sing along with this moralistic song. For all intents and purposes, the issue is politically dead.

And Sweden appears increasingly, from a legal perspective, like a developing country.

Jan Söderqvist, is an author, columnist, and liberal-leaning social commentator. He has written three books with his co-writer Alexander Bard, incluing "The Netocrats" (2000), "The Global Empire" (2003) and "The Body-Machines" (2009).

This article was first published in Swedish on January 12th, 2010 on the Newsmill.se opinion website. Translation to English by The Local.

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Your comments about this article

15:03 January 12, 2011 by procrustes
It's time to create a list of MPs for and against these dumb laws and circulate it among their constituents, on TV news, printed press and the blogosphere.

THEN, create a poll contrasting these stupid laws with sane law of other Northern European countries and ask which makes more sense.

Then support candidates that support sanity.
15:32 January 12, 2011 by BigBilly
"Hedman came by himself in a taxi a short time later" how messy!
16:19 January 12, 2011 by Tanskalainen
Sex is a misdemeanor, the more you miss de meaner you get.
17:31 January 12, 2011 by mjennin2
Eww. Ultra mega ugly boots she is wearing in the picture. I thought I was looking at giant centipedes before I realized they were shoes.
18:24 January 12, 2011 by Swedesmith
If I had sex with a Miss, my Mrs. would get meaner.
18:38 January 12, 2011 by stillwatersrd

...and if your lover was a Mrs. as well?
18:50 January 12, 2011 by zircon
Exciting, the picture in this article. Beautiful. Hard to resist, isn't it?
19:17 January 12, 2011 by Swedesmith
Hmmmmm,stillwatersrd, you may have discovered a loophole.
19:34 January 12, 2011 by GLO
Hey! Ill pay for sex any day with the girl in this photo.

I am willing to pay a monthly fee or even buy her gifts, if all goes well, He#$ I will buy her a ring.

Now what is this legal issue ?????
20:34 January 12, 2011 by Swedesmith
Are you sure about that, GLO, you haven't seen her face yet?

BTW her face is pictured above with the caption "Swedish Muslim Council Renews Support for Leader."

Bon apetit!
20:56 January 12, 2011 by GLO
OK... Who cares, I didn't notice....

She still Looks pretty good to me....

In fact, I can see many benefits without the head....

You dont have to even say thanks....
22:15 January 12, 2011 by LordSqueak
What the hell?
22:31 January 12, 2011 by old git
Interesting article , completely agree. Fr.o.m. Reading the Local these last few years the Swedish legal system seems completely screwed up...miss goody 2 shoes gone all wrong
00:30 January 13, 2011 by dionisos
I totally agree with this article. Well done!
02:24 January 13, 2011 by för30årseden
Of course he's guilty you idiots. He's a man!
08:16 January 13, 2011 by Hedley
If you go to www.smi.se, you will understand WHY make prostitution illegal IS a problem!

Speaking with EVIDENCE, the STD are an important issue in Sweden.

Making prostitution legal make a big step to stop them, since you can identify them and treat in order to avoid the spread.

In my view, everyone who had sex should perform such test, howeve making compulsory for a license, make sense!

I think that it is a big scandal, because there are BIG STARS involved!

Little petty men, aren´t so important! however I can´t be agree with such idiocy policies!
10:42 January 13, 2011 by Nemesis
The police and prosecutors need to be careful where they are going with this.

Sooner or later they are going to accuse the wrong woman of being a prostitute and will get way more than they bargained for.
11:14 January 13, 2011 by alingsaskev
Bravo Mr Söderqvist,

Well reasoned article!
13:22 January 13, 2011 by Dissidente
And where did our hero's money go? Just to the girl, or some to the men behind the scenes?

It is also wrong to assume that someone from Romania offering sex for money is doing so as a voluntary career move. A quick google for human trafficking in Sweden should open your eyes to the organised criminal networks running the trade.
15:03 January 13, 2011 by McChatter
Thoroughly agree with Mr. Söderqvist.

Mr. Hedman could have received a higher fine for...eh...driving too fast.

No wonder Mr. Assange is fighting extradition to Sweden.
17:06 January 13, 2011 by stillwatersrd

Loopholes are there to be explored. :^)
17:43 January 13, 2011 by Morenikeji
Our national hypocrisy is coming to light by the day. This case is another example.
18:16 January 13, 2011 by BigBilly
@ Swedesmith Who looks at the mantelpiece when they're stoking the fire?
18:46 January 13, 2011 by zooeden
Is the guy in the picture using a fur coat???? representing a modern scandinavian pimp or what????
10:31 January 14, 2011 by flintis
My Swedish wife talks English with an accent, & sometimes wears scanty clothes, she also gets some of my wages.

This must mean I am guilty of paying for sexual favours (daren't call her a whore)
10:58 January 14, 2011 by sherkovic
i like the pic :P
11:20 January 14, 2011 by andrewsrocks
"And Sweden appears increasingly, from a legal perspective, like a developing country"

What is that supposed to mean?? as far as I know nobody has ever been convicted in any developing country for having payed for sex... well at least in not muslim ones...
11:57 January 14, 2011 by johnny1939
I have an idea. Why do we not make sex for hire legal and then we make it illegal for the girls to take cash but they can take credit cards. That would take care of the sex for hire situation. God this is so stupid why do the cops and courts have to waste their time on chasing men getting it off. Forced prostitution is another matter.
15:27 January 14, 2011 by MarshaLynn
Well, let's examine this methodically to see what we have.

First, he got drunk. If he had not been drunk, he might have had clearer thinking.

Second, he went to an after party where there were girls for a specific purpose. If he had not done this, he would not have gotten himself in trouble.

Third, if no one went to after parties where there are girls, what a good thing for society in general. Instead, how about if a man has a wife (meaning, they are married) and he goes home to her for the same purpose he went to the after party where there were girls. Better yet, how about if they stayed home instead of going to a party where they get drunk. How about if all men and women kept themselves strictly to their spouses. No more STDs, so there is one huge benefit right there. Instead of going to drunken parties, how about we do something worthwhile with our spouse and children?

I suppose that doesn't sound like as much fun to many people. But think about this: The reason it doesn't sound like as much fun is because you are so into yourself and are basically addicted to the activity you crave. An alcoholic doesn't think it sounds like as much fun to drink milk. A rapist doesn't think it sounds like as much fun to refrain from raping. A violent person doesn't think it sounds like as much fun to refrain from violence.

So ask yourself this: Why do I want to go to a party and get drunk instead of going to a soup kitchen to volunteer my time?
16:44 January 14, 2011 by BigBilly
@ MarshaLynn ask yourself this why are you such a boring old prune?
16:55 January 14, 2011 by tadchem
"Hedman has himself admitted that there was some "running" between the different hotel rooms during the party. Hedman later enjoyed a jacuzzi and drank champagne with the girls during the after party at his friend's apartment. And the girls were wearing thick make-up and provocatively dressed. In addition, they spoke English with a thick accent."

It sounds like quite a party, but it doesn't rise to the level of prostitution. Show me the receipts.
19:11 January 14, 2011 by mibrooks27
Actually, using the same reasoning, any man buying an engagement ring can be arrested for solicitation. It essentially boils down to exchanging a gift for the possibility of sex. Thus, every married or engaged Swedish male should be arrested immediately.

This is what you get when you allow a bunch of feminists and "progressives" to get control of your government.
20:09 January 14, 2011 by wakak
Totally agreed. Puritanism is a XIXth century value, at best.

Let's suppress the Systembolaget as well, and this country will start looking nice.
22:18 January 14, 2011 by DamnImmigrant
'Having sex with scantily-clad women in make-up is not a crime'

How do I take the government to the European court for calling my wife a whore and my mistress one too? I give them both money and the sex is great BUT If I stop giving them money won't I be in more trouble?

How can the government do this to me?
22:19 January 14, 2011 by mojofat
And I thought Sweden was an enlightened society...geez...
02:19 January 15, 2011 by locaxy
Excellent article! The best one I read on The Local in ages.
22:24 January 15, 2011 by tomas R

Everybody has the FREEDOM but everybody must be responsible for his or her action! So this man must be punished for buying the sexual services! It is the big criminal to buy the sexual services from another person! It is normal thing to have the sex with wife or husband! But no more!

It is my opinion.

tomas (Lithuania)
02:41 January 16, 2011 by Marc the Texan
Legalized prostitution keeps society safer and more fun. If more places legalized drugs, guns and prostitution; the world would be a happier and healthier place.
22:08 January 18, 2011 by Just_Kidding
I read somewhere that there are 451000 single men and 244000 single women in Sweden at age range between 29 and 45. It seem that due to immigration (immigrants are mainly young men), there are 212000 more men than women only in the age range of 29-45. Maybe immigration of Swedish women to US or Australia is the other cause.

Many refugees pass through a very dangerous and difficult journey and it is natural that more men commit to such unsafe and uncertain circumstances than women.

One approach would be making it easier for women from Iraq, Afganistan and Bosnia to immigrate and marry immigrants and refugees in Sweden. The other approach will be doing what Germany does. All in all, Ignoring this problem could lead to many bigger problems.

An Iranian Atheist
22:22 January 21, 2011 by Grandson of Swedish Emigrants
An appellate court overturning an acquittal!

So in Sweden if women are "...... wearing thick make-up and provocatively dressed. In addition, they spoke English with a thick accent....Therefore "it must have been clear to Magnus Hedman or at least have seemed possible that they were paid escort girls", the appeals court wrote in its judgment."

Wow. I look at this and then I look at the "sex rape charges" against Wikileaks founder and Julian Assange and I just have to ask how can two consenting adults in Sweden can have intimate relations without the fear that the man will be prosecuted or convicted of a crime.

Your judicial system is NUTS!

Thank goodness my grandparents left Sweden when they did! At least in the US there still is the presumption of innocence and that criminal cases must be proved beyond a shadow of doubt.

I laughed when I first heard that there were contracts that some consenting Swedish adults had their partners sign before having sex, I now feel that is the only sane way to have sex in your country as long you your legal system is so insane.
17:16 January 23, 2011 by Anarka
Thats sweden, image is everything there...no matter how much they're talking about equality and laalaa this and that, this kinda bull*hit keeps on happening. What a great country!
10:34 January 26, 2011 by gunnar-mobimation
His biggest mistake is being inexperienced. Any swedish male who grew up in the 70´s/80´s have been used to that an after party "where there is girls" simply means there are some female citicens there that happen to know some people and got invited. And very strongly swedish; that these girls are there to find a partner which they can have a relationship with, OR that they even would be there to find someone they could eventually have sex with in order to satisfy own sex drive.

That is how naive swedish men can be. As a native swede I remember one of my first business trips to New York, me and a colleague went out on the evening to see some of the night life. We asked the cab driver "we want to go to some place where young people meet - and where there is girls". HAHA yes we actually did say exactly that. We naively thought we could find a place where boys and girls were meeting up to dance, talk and socialize like in Sweden. Instead we were driven to a strip club with pole and table dancing, meaning that "where there is girls" meant something else than we anticipated.
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