Portrait of a woman next to a picture of a court and five silhouettes.
Judge Erica Hemtke notes that the problems in the police investigations are "remarkable". Credit: Sveriges Radio/TT/Montage

Judge in gang rape trial criticises police investigation

3:12 min

The judge in the Fittja gang-rape trial, where five men were acquitted on Tuesday, is criticising the initial police investigation for not doing enough to secure evidence.

According to judge Erica Hemtke, the first crime scene investigation was carried out in the wrong location. Only ten months after the alleged crime, after one of the suspects lets slip information about another location, do the police go to the real scene of the alleged crime.

"If we had found proof for everything that the prosecutor has said, it is a serious rape, there is no doubt about that. But the prosecutor must present evidence for his claim, and he has not succeeded in doing so," said judge Erica Hemtke.

The men admit they did have sex with the woman in a stairwell in a Stockholm suburb, but claim it was consensual. They say she offered oral sex in exchange for drugs. Sperm from the three main suspects in this trial and from other, unidentified men, could be found on the woman's clothes, but it could not be confirmed "when or where sexual acts had taken place or if it had happened by force," the court writes in its decision.

In a written comment to the acquittal, the woman's lawyer, Elisabeth Massi Fritz, said the verdict brings "shame on our justice system" and that her client has not been given a fair trial because of her background and person.

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