“The intended crime never had the possibility of being fulfilled,” explained judge Dan Sjöstedt of the Örebro District Court to local newspaper Nerikes Allehanda.
When the 61-year-old man had tried to commit the rape in Örebro, he had no idea that the intended victim was born a man, and had been taking hormonal treatment to reach the “right” identity, wrote the paper.
After following the woman for some time, the would-be rapist was “brutally violent” in the "attempted rape", tearing off the victim's pants and grabbing at the victim's crotch, according to the paper.
The incident occurred in front of the woman's ex-boyfriend's house, and it was him who came rushing to intervene. When police arrived, they arrested the attacker.
However, the court has ruled that the 61-year-old had intended to rape a woman, as he had been following her before the attack, making a conscious decision to rape her specifically. The man also referred to his victim as "she" throughout the court case.
As this woman was biologically a man, his intentions were impossible to commit as the rape could never be completed.
“We believe that he wanted to rape this woman in particular. But as she turned out to be a man, the crime never was actually committed,” said Sjöstedt, adding that the case against rape was “invalid”.
"There are different theories about how this should be handled, and so we're looking forward to seeing the verdict from the Court of Appeals,” he said, adding that he would appeal the decision if he were the prosecutor or the defence.
The 61-year-old was instead convicted of assault and sentenced to four months prison. The court also ordered the man to pay 15,000 kronor ($2,161) in compensation to the woman.
Editor's Note: a previous version of this article erroneously listed the 61-year-old's prison sentence as being four years long. The error has since been corrected.