A 65-year-old man arrested on 6 June for pleasuring himself on Drevviken beach in Stockholm has been acquitted of sexual assault. As the man’s action was “victimless” he did not commit a crime, ruled the Soderton District court.
Public prosecutor Olof Vrethammer said for the action to be a criminal offence sexual molestation needed to be directed towards somebody, adding that he thinks the judgment is reasonable.
Vrethammer does not intend to appeal the ruling, according to reports in Sweden. He was quoted as saying that the court has made its judgment on the case and can now come to the conclusion that the act of masturbation on the beach is okay, noting that the act could be classed as disorderly conduct.
However, Swedish child protection system researcher Dr. Liz Davies was surprised by the ruling. She said that the Scandinavian country has a robust child protection system and is particularly rigorous regarding investigation of sexual abuse. She added that the ruling is surprising given that the act could be seen by both children and adults.
The case came on the back of another ruling in which a 15-year-old boy was acquitted after taking his pants off, throwing them into a lake and posing naked in front of two girls. The court dismissed the case after ruling it was not an act of sexual nature, despite the girls wanting him convicted of sexual molestation.