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US woman hoops star convicted of assault

4 Apr 2012, 12:31

Published: 04 Apr 2012 12:31 GMT+02:00

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Jeannie Saunders, 25, had been a star for the Visby Ladies women's professional basketball team along with fellow American teammate Ashleigh Brown, 23, until both found themselves accused with beating a man following a party in their flat in Visby in February.

While criminal suspicions against Brown were later dropped, Saunders was formally charged with assault and stood trial last week before the Gotland District Court, with prosecutors arguing the basketball star should be sentenced to six months in prison.

On Wednesday, the court delivered a guilty verdict in the case, handing Saunders a suspended sentence and 120 hours of community service.

She was also ordered to pay the victim of the assault 16,000 kronor ($1,800) in compensation, far less than the 41,000 kronor he had requested, according to the Helagotland.se news website.

The incident which prompted the criminal charges took place in mid-February following a birthday party in a flat shared by Saunders and Brown.

The two Americans, along with two other teammates, went looking for the 43-year-old man who they believed had stolen a teammate's mobile phone after tracking the missing phone with a special app.

When the basketball players confronted the man outside on the street near where the party was taking place, he was highly inebriated and claimed to have no memory of having the phone.

But when the women discovered he had the missing phone they grew very agitated.

According to the indictment, Saunders then pushed the 43-year-old to the ground so he was left face-down in a snowdrift.

She then proceeded to kick and stomp him several times in the stomach, back, neck, and head before she and the rest of her teammates left the scene, leaving the man unconscious on the ground.

"I was kicked and stomped until someone yelled "enough"; the atmosphere was tense and aggressive," the 43-year-old told the court, according to Helagotland.se.

In court Saunders denied having committed assault, but admitted she pushed the man down in self-defence and kicked him twice after she tried to reclaim the missing phone.

"He raised his arm to elbow me. Then I pushed him down and kicked him in the shoulder to make sure he didn't get up again. Two other players dragged me away when I kicked him one more time. No one else touched him," she told the court.

In handing down the sentence, the court took into consideration the fact that the victim of the assault was drunk at the time, meaning that his testimony may not have been entirely reliable.

Story continues below…

In addition, one witness changed her account of what happened and the victim has no documented long-term suffering as a result of the assault.

Thus, rather than sentencing her to the four months in prison generally associated with such cases, Saunders instead was handed a suspended sentence and community service.

As a result, Saunders, who has weak ties to Sweden, must remain in the country until she completes her community service.

The Local/dl


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Your comments about this article

13:15 April 4, 2012 by Rishonim
It would have been cheaper for them if they had killed him. They would have probably get less than a year sentence and they would have saved the 16000 SEK in compensation. The moral of the story is if someone steal your phone; just let it go cause if you whip his arze you will go to prison.
13:51 April 4, 2012 by chemo007
come on Swedes.....she is US national.......court ll put crown and ll say sorry and tghen let it go......-:(
14:02 April 4, 2012 by Puffin
@ Rishonim

Pretty digusting to incite someone to kill another to save 16K/kr - although obviously you have not heard that relatives of a murder victim can also request compensation which would be much more than a paltry 16K

The moral of the story is that it is unclear when he stole the phone or picked it up by accident - the thing to do is to call the police to sort out the dispute rather than act like a brat and a bully
14:14 April 4, 2012 by Rishonim
Puffin.. Not inciting at all but rather laughing at the stupid justice system. I have seeing cases in sweden where a murderer get 18 months sentence or where a police chief in Uppsala get 6 months for rape. Do the numbers and you will see how ridiculous is the law.
14:15 April 4, 2012 by libertarianism
Deport her as well.
14:33 April 4, 2012 by klubbnika
Did they sue him for stealing a phone?

Ah... in Sweden you can get away from the punishment by claiming you don't remember anything, so obviously the man has suddenly forgotten the events.
14:33 April 4, 2012 by gpafledthis
Hey this is a single case for you'all it's daily behavior for us !! I gotta laugh that you really got your face rubbed in it !!
15:39 April 4, 2012 by Svensksmith
Give her a job as a jail guard.
15:40 April 4, 2012 by ljonesdontplay
HAHAHA. He got beat down by a girl. Beat by a GIRL. And she little. Then he went public + tried to shake her down for a little cash. Come on, that's a fool. You can't tell people A GIRL beat you! Steal a phone agin, I bet he get wupped again. That ain't no man, thats a punk.
16:56 April 4, 2012 by Bluecrane
As an American citizen I think I resent people presenting another country as having a legal system so silly that it rivals ours. We'll sometimes tolerate a challenge to the "absurdity crown" from Italy; but from Sweden?????
17:26 April 4, 2012 by Rod Munch
He got beat up by a girl. LMGDFAO!!!!
18:15 April 4, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
Why is he not fined for the theft?

And as usual his defense is a combination of conveniently forgetting the theft and yet remembering details of the alledged assault, which is utter nonsense. So why does he not then face jail time for purgery?

Police do not go get stolen phones for you. You are stuck with the consequences of the imbecile making obscene or long distance phone calls, and having to somehow advise all of your friends that you are out of phone contact for awhile. I can understand her being upset and kicking him in the butt.

Unfortunately for her the shameless slob had no need to accept reasonable consequences for his criminal behaviour against a female victim, because he lives in Sweden, where criminals who commit an unprovoked initial crime against others are glorified and protected and face no accountability for their actions.
21:08 April 4, 2012 by johan rebel
So the phone thief heard somebody yell "enough" whilst he was lying unconscious?!?
04:05 April 5, 2012 by GLO
He is a girl.... WoW. Dude, need to lay off the booze and go to the training room.
06:39 April 5, 2012 by ctinej
sorry Swedish justice system. I think the American justice delivered here is far better. You steal my cell phone, lie about it, Get caught by a fit American girl, she is going to teach you a lesson.

I like the scenario. NO cost to the public to support the injustice system, Puts out a good message.

The creep stole her phone, was caught with the goods, and didnt get prosecuted??? Well I'm glad the girls were the judge and jury with a quick verdict and punishment.
19:21 April 6, 2012 by canuk
I would use the word 'woman' very loosely for this piece of work, with a full frontal chest tatoo and a face that looks like it fell down the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down. Plus its not hard to get beaten by a woman if your totally wasted, especially as you get older and you have less of an ability to react after drinking too much. sure he might have stolen the phone but there is a way to deal with it, not by taking the law into your own hands. if this had happened in the states it could have been classed as attempted murder. 'she' got off lucky.
14:33 April 7, 2012 by rramirez
43, drunk, and stealing cellphones. Absolutely pathetic! At 20 it would already be pathetic. Oh yeah, this is Sweden where boys never have to become men. Just ask Swedish women whose panties fly off for anything with a foreign accent. And as a 43 year old man he felt no shame admitting it so he might get some money. To the point above, yes, a drunk 43 year old could get pounded by a woman. That's why 43 year old men (or women) shouldn't be out drunk stealing stuff!!! This guy probably needs help for booze and being a klepto (or maybe just a small time mooch) and shame on the judge who rewarded him for a situation that he initiated. I'm not justifying the beat-down, but for his own good the last thing this guy needed was to come out of this ahead financially.
22:42 April 11, 2012 by vtrusty
Typical Swedish justice: I was drunk so I can get away with anything. probaly a friend of the judge.
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