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Swede faces charges for child rape 24 years ago after 'family DNA search'

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Swede faces charges for child rape 24 years ago after 'family DNA search'
Prosecutor Thomas Ahlstrand speaking to a reporter after the trial. Photo: Björn Larsson Rosvall/TT
07:39 CEST+02:00
Prosecutors have requested seven years' jail time for a man suspected of raping an eight-year-old in 1995, after a law change in how police can use DNA databases linked him to the crime scene.

The eight-year-old girl had been cycling home from school when she was assaulted and raped by a man in a forest in Billdal, Gothenburg, in September 1995.

It was only earlier this year, 24 years after the crime took place, that the 58-year-old was detained on suspicion of the rape. This followed a so-called 'family search' in the police DNA register, linking him to DNA found on the girl's jumper at the time.

So-called 'family searches' in the police's DNA database were made possible after a law change that came into effect on January 1st this year. This means that DNA traces found at crime scenes can sometimes be used to track down close relatives of possible suspects, something police were previously unable to do.

Prosecutors requested that the man be sentenced to seven years in jail in the trial, which ended on Tuesday morning, and the ruling is expected on May 21st.

"The punishment for this type of crime is eight years, but then you need to do a deduction in relation to the time that has passed, and in previous cases it's been one year," prosecutor Thomas Ahlstrand said to SVT Väst.

The man has denied the crime but was reticent during questioning and the trial itself.

In Sweden, the statute of limitations is 25 years for crimes on which a life sentence could be imposed.

READ ALSO: 'Sweden needs to do more to convict rapists': Amnesty report

 
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SwedenGuy - 15 May 2019 08:21
Perhaps a note is in order here - unlike the USA, where DNA submitted by the user (eg genetic ancestry tests) or collected because of a criminal conviction, in Sweden, the DNA is collected at birth and you can't opt out of it.

Why didn't TheLocal cover the law change? This is scary...
Emma Löfgren, Editor, The Local Sweden - 15 May 2019 10:26
Hej! No, that's not quite right. You're talking about the healthcare's so-called PKU biobank, which keeps blood samples collected at birth (although you can ask to have your sample destroyed or anonymized) and which the police are generally not allowed to use.

The DNA register referred to in this article is the police's own DNA register, which is a DNA database of people who have been convicted of crimes for which the punishment was more serious than a fine. The law change applies to this register, not the PKU biobank.
SwedenGuy - 15 May 2019 12:16
Good to hear!
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