Swedish judge slammed for justifying violence against women

A Swedish judge has been reprimanded for the second time for writing in a ruling that it was “quite understandable” that a man “doled out a slap” to his wife when she refused to disclose where she had been. According to Swedish legal trade publication Dagens Juridik, the ruling at Attunda District Court marks the second time that the judge has been rapped for making degrading comments about women.

“In addition, the woman made herself unreachable by telephone, by which XX, who with justified suspicions of mischief, concern, and growing jealousy, had tried to reach her,” the judge wrote in the ruling.

“When she finally saw it fit to come home and XX questioned her behaviour, his wife answered that she didn’t need to tell him with whom of where she had been. In light of her behaviour, it’s highly understandable that XX felt insulted, angry, and despondent and, as an impulse reaction, doled out a slap.”

“In other countries, with a more patriarchal perspective, XX’s reaction would have been considered both called for and appropriate,” the judge added.

Sweden’s Parliamentary Ombudsman (Justitieombudsmannen) slammed the judge after the ruling, claiming it was written in a “completely unacceptable manner”. The ombudsman accused the judge of taking a “moralizing tone” and being “teasing and insinuating”.

Particular offence was taken to the judge’s theorising about how the case would have been handled in other countries. “It gives the impression that the court allowed its ruling to be affected by personal and emotional values rather than relevant criteria,” the ombudsman wrote.

The same judge was also criticised by the ombudsman in 2010 for seemingly justifying a man’s violence against the mother of his child,

“Without knowing how the violence occurred or who did what, it can nevertheless be said that it’s understandable that the man, in this situation, had a hard time controlling himself,” the judge wrote.

The ombudsman said the ruling was “characterized throughout by a tone that must be considered to be degrading toward the woman”, which prompted the National Disciplinary Offences Board (Statens ansvarsnämd) to issue him with a formal warning. The ruling was also found to contravene the European Convention on Human rights.

In response to the latest complaint, the judge refuted the allegations of bias and said he showed “due consideration” to the woman in his ruling.