The incident marks the second time the judge has been rapped for issuing a ruling considered to be degrading towards women, according to Swedish legal trade publication Dagens Juridik.
The judge, who sits on the Attunda District Court, north of Stockholm, issued the ruling after hearing a case of a man charged for assaulting his wife.
“In addition, the woman made herself unreachable by telephone, by which XX, who with justified suspicions of mischief, concern, and growing jealousy had tried to reach her,” the judge wrote in the ruling.
“When she finally saw it fit to come home and XX questioned her behaviour his wife answered that she didn’t need to tell him with whom of where she had been. In light of her behaviour, it’s highly understandable that XX felt insulted, angry, and despondent and, as an impulse reaction, doled out a slap.”
The judge went on to say that a comparable behaviour wouldn’t have resulted in an indictment had the incident occurred in France, for example.
“In other countries, with a more patriarchal perspective, XX’s reaction would have been considered both called for and appropriate,” the judge wrote.
Following the ruling, the judge was slammed by Sweden’s Parliamentary Ombudsman (Justitieombudsmannen – JO) for a ruling it considered to be written in a “completely unacceptable manner”.
According to the ombudsman, the judge’s wording was “teasing and insinuating” and he took a “moralizing tone” that lacked legal significance.
Moreover, including a passage theorizing about how the case would have been handled in other countries was “plainly offensive”.
“It gives the impression that the court allowed its ruling to be affected by personal and emotional values rather than relevant criteria,” the ombudsman wrote.
The case was later appealed, with the court of appeal finding that the woman’s behaviour wasn’t relevant in determining the level of the man’s sentence.
The judge was also criticized by the ombudsman for a 2010 custody dispute ruling in which he appeared to justify the father’s violence against the mother.
“Without knowing how the violence occurred or who did what, it can nevertheless be said that it’s understandable that the man, in this situation, had a hard time controlling himself,” the judge wrote.
In its critique, the ombudsman found the ruling to be “characterized throughout by a tone that must be considered to be degrading toward the woman”, prompting the National Disciplinary Offences Board (Statens ansvarsnämd) to slap the judge with a warning.
The 2010 ruling was later also found to be in violation of the European Convention on Human rights.
In a statement submitted to the ombudsman related to the domestic assault ruling, the judge refuted allegations questioning his impartiality claiming his ruling showed “due consideration” to the woman.