The court cited video evidence from the cruise ship and blood and urine samples taken many hours after the event to argue that there was little evidence that the alleged victim had been drunk enough to be rendered “particularly vulnerable” or unable to “protect her sexual integrity”.
“In my opinion, the judgment is absolutely correct,” Martin Beskow, defence lawyer for one of the four men told Sweden’s Radio P4 Västmanland. “My client is relieved, but the verdict was expected.”
Ulrika Borg, the lawyer for the victim, would not comment on the judgment. “I have an agreement with my client,” she told TT news wire.
The rape case was one of a string of high profile sexual assault and harassment cases involving young immigrant men in Sweden this year, and had been seized upon by anti-immigrant and right-wing media.
The alleged rape took place during an on-board party for 1,700 students described by organiser Fun Cruises as “a crazy action packed day at sea” on a “ship filled with students from all over the country”.
“We’re going to fuck around,” one of the accused men told Sara Cosar, an Aftonbladet reporter before the ship departed. “We’re graduating, so we just want to fuck around.”
The prosecutor Angelica Runesson told Sweden's TT newswire after the judgement that she believed that she had been right to prosecute, and that she was still considering whether to appeal the ruling.