Sweden could cut sentences for criminals who help police investigate accomplices

The Swedish government wants to offer reduced sentences for criminals in exchange for helping police investigate their accomplices, in a new bid to crack down on gang-related crimes.

Sweden could cut sentences for criminals who help police investigate accomplices
Swedish Justice Minister Morgan Johansson. Photo: Paul Wennerholm/TT

Presenting a law proposal allowing for so called “crown witnesses”, Justice Minister Morgan Johansson said this was intended to “break the culture of silence” associated with gang-related crime.

The system means that criminals can see their sentences reduced by helping in the investigation of others, so “that is pays off to collaborate with police”, Johansson told a press conference.

Currently, criminals can get reduced sentences by aiding in their own investigation but not by helping to catch others.

In addition, the law proposal contains tougher punishments for intimidating witnesses or obstructing investigations.

“Those who go after plaintiffs and witnesses are not just going after them but also the justice system as a whole,” Johansson said, adding that those types of attacks need to be treated “severely”.

Sweden has in recent years struggled to rein in rising shootings and bombings – usually settlings of scores by gangs and organised crime involved in drug trafficking.

In 2021, 346 shootings were recorded with 46 people dying as a result, according to police statistics in the country of 10.3 million inhabitants.

In October the killing of award-winning Swedish rapper Einar, whose music often referenced the criminal scene, sparked international headlines as the 19-year-old artist was shot several times outside an apartment building in Stockholm.

Friday’s proposal, which needs to be approved by Sweden’s parliament, was inspired by similar systems in neighbouring Norway and Denmark and is part of a 34-point programme announced by the government in 2019.

Johansson promised that more legal changes targeting gang crime would be presented throughout the year and leading up to the September elections.

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Man jailed for throwing stone at policeman in Sweden’s Easter riots

A 30-year-old man has been jailed for six months for throwing a stone at a policeman during one of the riots that swept Sweden over Easter.

Man jailed for throwing stone at policeman in Sweden's Easter riots

The man was found guilty of “violent rioting” and “attempted violence against an officer” for his behaviour during a riot in the Stockholm suburb of Rinkeby on Good Friday. 

The sentence by the Solna District Court marks the first ruling connected with the unrest, which followed a series of Koran-burnings carried out by the Danish far-Right activist Rasmus Paludan. 

Although the man was found guilty of taking part in the riot, the court ruled that there was no evidence he was an organiser or instigator of the violence. 

“Many people were active and the crowd rushed back and forth for a long time. There has been no indication that [his] actions had any effect on the crowd “, the court wrote in its judgement. 

Although he threw a stone, it did no damage as the policeman managed to duck in time. 

READ ALSO: Swedish police say riots are ‘extremely serious crimes against society’

The police had requested SEK 10,000 in damages, but the court refused to award any, arguing that violence was to be expected at such a large riot. 

“This was a situation where the police had a clear reason to expect to be met by some violence, and can be assumed to have been prepared for this,” the court wrote.