The Svea Court of Appeal (Svea hovrätt) ruled that according to the law as it was framed prior to July 1st 2013, the girl could not have been deemed to be in a “incapacitated state”, while recognizing that she was in a vulnerable situation.
The court found that there was insufficient evidence to indicate that she was afraid of being subjected to other physical violence if she had said no to the boys. The court cited testimony from a friend of the girl who said that her no to sex had been respected.
The court furthermore ruled that the boys’ testimony was credible, despite the fact that four of the boys initially denied being at the party where the alleged rape took place, before changing their stories.
The appeals court argued that as the boys knew that a friend had already been arrested, a fear of becoming accused themselves was sufficient motivation to lie.
The boys had admitted to having had sexual intercourse with the girl and were convicted of aggravated rape by the Solna District Court in March. The sixth boy, who had dealt out condoms to the other boys, was convicted of attempted aggravated rape.
The appeals court ruled on Friday that boys could not be convicted of the lesser offence of sexual assault as it requires proof that they had the “intent to harass the plaintiff in a manner that is likely to violate her sexual integrity”.
Sex-crime legislation was amended on July 1st which included a rewrite of the term “incapacitated state” to “particularly vulnerable situation”, which will in effect re-classify certain types of sexual assault as rape.