Sweden’s Supreme Court has set a new legal precedent that makes it harder for alleged victims of rape to convict their attackers. The precedent was cited recently when a western Swedish appeals court overturned the conviction of a man who had been found guilty of rape in May.
The Court of Appeal for Western Sweden cited the Supreme Court’s recent ruling that says testimony from a victim is not sufficient for a conviction unless there is tangible supporting evidence. The Goteborgs-Posten (GP) newspaper explains that this means the rape victim’s word alone is no longer proof that the incident was in fact a rape.
The latest incident involves a man who claimed he met the alleged victim in a bar. The two went back to the man’s house where the woman claims they had sex against her will. The man, however, contends they never had intercourse. Despite no forensic evidence, a district court found the man guilty in May and sentenced him to two years in prison for rape.
On 3 July, Sweden’s Supreme Court overturned two rape convictions of a similar nature where the woman’s testimony was the only evidence admitted. The Supreme Court stated the importance of some form of technical, forensic evidence to make a conviction. The appeals court judge cited this ruling and overturned the man’s rape conviction, clearing his name.