Ekeroth was filmed striking another man in the queue to a Stockholm nightclub in November last year, after the man made a provocative comment about an incident in 2012 when Ekeroth and two other Sweden Democrats were filmed arming themselves with iron bars after fighting a drunken man.
The member of parliament himself denied the charges, insisting that the other man had made death threats and attempted to punch him, and that he had slapped him in self-defence. Stockholm District Court did not accept his plea, and found him guilty of minor assault and fined him.
However, on Friday the Svea Court of Appeals overturned the verdict, writing in its own ruling, seen by The Local, that the prosecutor had failed to disprove that Ekeroth acted in self-defence.
“The Court of Appeal has also found that the violence used by Kent Ekeroth was not clearly indefensible, even if it was possible for him to remove himself from the scene,” it added in a statement.
The Sweden Democrat party urged Ekeroth to leave his position on the parliament's justice committee, saying the public's trust in him had been damaged despite being cleared by the appeals court.
“Kent has done a good job developing the field of crime politics over the years, but we think that he in his choice of the way he leads his life, conduct and judgment has still not managed to meet the high demands that the party places on representatives on criminal policy issues,” the Sweden Democrats' group leader in parliament, Mattias Karlsson, told news agency TT on Friday.
“Our assessment is also that the public's trust in Kent Ekeroth has been damaged by a series of various incidents over the years,” added Karlsson, but said he would not be expelled from the party.
Ekeroth did not immediately comment on the verdict, but according to Karlsson he has previously ignored the party's request to take a timeout from his duties on the justice committee pending the legal process.