Swedish doc free from child porn charges due to slow probe
TT/Rebecca Martin · 11 May 2011, 10:38
Published: 11 May 2011 10:38 GMT+02:00
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"It is such gratifying news," the doctor told newspaper Metro after hearing that the case would be dropped.
Police had been investigating the doctor since 2005, upon the discovery of the vast amount of child porn material on his computer.
The doctor's extensive child porn holdings were uncovered in a massive raid carried out in 2004 dubbed "Operation Sleipner" which targeted 120 people suspected of possessing or distributing child porn.
At first, the doctor was suspected of aggravated child pornography crimes.
But because there was so much evidence to go through, it wasn’t until this year that police were able to determine that the doctor had not shared the material further or showed any indication of planning to do so.
Without the intent to spread the images of child pornography further, the doctor could only be charged with a minor child porn offences, which in turn carry a statute of limitations of five years instead of ten.
As a result of the the crime being downgraded, prosecutors had no choice but to drop the case.
This is not the first time that the period for prosecution of a similar crime is expired due to a lengthy investigation.
Local paper Västerbottenkuriren reported in April about an investigation into child pornography crimes which dragged out more than five years because of the copious amount of material stored on two discs confiscated by police.
When the case was finally handed over to prosecution it was too late and the charges where dropped.
Björn Sellström from Sweden's National Bureau of Investigation (Rikscriminalpolisen) expressed his regret over the lengthy investigation into the doctor's child porn holdings.
“It would certainly be possible to argue that the investigation should have been quicker to determine whether this was an aggravated crime or not and thereby kept an eye on the statute of limitations,” he told Metro.
The doctor has denied all charges since the beginning of the investigation.