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15-year-old Swede beats filesharing charges

TT/David Landes · 30 Aug 2011, 17:49

Published: 30 Aug 2011 17:49 GMT+02:00

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The boy was put on trial for having downloaded at least 24 films from the internet and then sharing them with others.

He was considered to be the youngest person ever to be put on trial in Sweden for filesharing crimes.

The boy was reported to police by his school principal after the school's IT department discovered the downloaded films on his computer.

They made the find after having identified the boy's computer as the source of a virus that had infected the school's computer system.

While he admitted to downloading the films, the 15-year-old claimed he was unaware that his actions were criminal.

Two lay judges who heard the case believed the boy's defence, while the head judge and another lay judge were in favour of a conviction, the Göteborgs-Posten (GP) reported.

However, the split among the judges was sufficient for an acquittal.

Ahead of the trial, prosecutor Fredrik Ingblad told The Local he was confident the boy would be convicted. Following the court's ruling, however, he vowed to appeal the non-guilty verdict.

“I can't do anything other than appeal. This is an absurd ruling, quite simply,” he told the TT news agency.

Story continues below…

The trial, which gained wide attention in the Swedish press because of the defendant's young age, was also watched closely by the Pirate Party, a political party which wants to see reforms of copyright laws.

“I can only imagine how it must feel to be a 15-year-old who is dragged into court for doing one of the greatest things one can do, sharing culture,” Pirate Party leader Anna Troberg said in a statement.

TT/David Landes (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

18:26 August 30, 2011 by Abe L
It's sad to read that half of the judges involved in the trial where obviously bought by MPAA like organizations. Nobody in their righteous mind would consider filesharing a crime and it's even sadder to see that the kid was ratted out by his school? Filesharing is so widely done and publicly acceptable that it should be tolerated without prosecution.
18:32 August 30, 2011 by RobinHood
A naughty child handed over to the police by his own school for criminal investigation, prosecution and punishment. Not the sort of head I would want looking after my kids, I have to say. Hundreds of thousands of Crowns of public money down the drain. Now an expensive appeal placing even more pressure on the child, and the public purse. A prosecutor determined to get his "man" at any expense. Lay judges who (like me) find the whole affair wierd and disgusting.

"Absurd" indeed. I wonder what might be driving prosecutor Fredrik Ingblad to go to such lengths to stick a criminal record and criminal punishment on a naughty schoolboy? He couldn't possibly be influenced by something more sinister than his own burning desire for justice against children. Surely not! Perhaps the Local might give him an opprtunity to explain why he's pursuing a child though the appeal courts, next time they speak with him. I smell a much better story in the answer to that question. Go Local, go.
01:31 August 31, 2011 by GLO
Miisused authority,shame.....
03:45 August 31, 2011 by CamCurrie
A horrible school head, and even more horrible, the prosecutor. What a shame.
08:12 August 31, 2011 by bubbagump
Two questions:

Why is there an even number of judges on the bench? Is it because sweden wants 3/4 of a pannel to rule guilty as a tie would go to the defendent?

How in the world can a prosecutor appeal a non-guilty verdict? Are there no double jeopardy laws in Sweden? Not-quilty means not-guilty whether it was the right verdict or not. I could understand if he was found innocent of criminal charges and they wanted to pursue the case through tort law and sue for damages.

I guess there is no such thing as a jury of your fellow citizens either.

Interesting. Frightingly interesting.
08:22 August 31, 2011 by karex
The children and parents would be better served if schools turned in kids for bullying (mobning) instead of file sharing. Bullying is a serious offence but no one seems to want to bother to do anything about it. The bullies of today many times turn into the criminals of tomorrow...
08:23 August 31, 2011 by I Groncour

Double jeopardy in Sweden only applies after the defendent has been acquitted in the highest court. Otherwise, the case is still considered to be open.

A jury is in Sweden only used in cases that involve freedom of speech.
12:14 August 31, 2011 by Keith #5083
hiccup! Ermmm, the other day there was an article/discussion about 15 years of age being the age of consent for sexual activity.

Do you think it is possible for peeps to stop talking about 15 yr olds as though they were 'children?' This guy's defense was that he was 'unaware his actions were criminal'. Has he never seen a rented dvd - with all the 'Piracy is a crime' announcement? Has he never facebooked, twittered or even gone peer to peer online?

Respectfully, to say he was 'unaware it was criminal' is like saying he doesn't know where the on/off switch is on his pc.

I am not here concerned with the rights and wrongs of the prosecution, but simply concerned with the acceptance in a court that a 15 year old is 'unaware'. If there is 1 thing of which I am very sure, young peeps today are very connected and street-wise.
18:54 August 31, 2011 by J. L. Belmar
If in Sweden, the teenager is guilty as chargged until he proves the opposite. That is how the system works.

Prosecutor Fredrik Ingblad told The Local that he was confident the boy would be convicted.

Well, well, but of course. The boy is not his son.

"I can't do anything other than appeal. This is an absurd ruling, quite simply," he told the TT news agency.

How is it possible that individuals like him exists in the judicial "system" of Sweden?

The boy might be or might not be guilty, The way his case has been handled is what is, in my opinion, wrong.
14:03 September 1, 2011 by swedejane
I swear judge, I had no idea that consuming massive amounts of LSD and then riding around town on my pet goat was illegal.

Well, okay then...just don't let it happen again.
09:34 September 2, 2011 by Keith #5083

hehehehe :-)

u c it's quite clear that it's not the perps fault if the system has failed to communicate that a thing is unlawful........... in fact, we live in a world where personal responsibility has almost disappeared into the mythology of human rights. It's always and in all ways, someone else's fault!


respectfully, I would want my own son to have sufficient sense of self-worth as to be able to accept the responsibility of his actions. If I always carry the can for him he never gets a sense of how heavy the can is, huh?
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