Today's Assignment review probably frightens many today through its element in the criminal justice event program following a cowardly and ugly assault on a Valborg Fair evening, in which a man is brutally beaten after an attack by a gang against the lone victim.
Many witnesses are there and they see what is happening. There are also recreational leaders employed by the municipality. Many witnesses are briefly heard by the police who come to the scene.
The situation initially looks favorable for the crime to be cleared up with a lawsuit that ends with all the guilty being prosecuted and punished.
Justice must be ordered . Everyone is equal before the law. No one should be allowed to get away. This also applies to those who have succeeded in spreading a nimbus of danger around themselves and which scares people into silence.
Or? In practice, are such individuals allowed to live by their own standards where those who see what they have for themselves are intimidated into silence and never act as witnesses? Just as if there was no testimony.
It takes time before more detailed and in-depth hearings are held with the witnesses in the current investigation. Under the hand, it becomes clear that the witnesses are jumping off and not wanting to participate.
After a number of legal trips, where, among other things, a mobile-recorded video sequence of the abuse happens to be of great importance, nevertheless in court the man in the gang who seems to act most brutally in the recording is released. The evidence is not enough. The silent witnesses had been needed in the case.
Is this how we should have it? What could be better?
Early and well-documented interrogations with all important evidence can be decisive. And where the assessment evidence through the hearing documentation in the form of video-recorded interrogations - which has been pointed out often and also in state investigations - can be allowed to obtain a significant evidence value in court if the story before the court becomes different or fails completely.
Such hearings should also reduce the risk of negative influence of the evidence if it becomes more widely known that it is not worthwhile to try to intimidate someone into silence that has already been thoroughly heard during the preliminary investigation and where the hearing is videotaped.
Anonymous witnesses - whether legal opportunity in the future will also exist in Sweden - is something that will only be possible in specific exceptional situations and will never be a more general solution for accessing the spread of silence culture.
Seeking to intimidate a witness to silence is a particularly serious crime not only against the person or persons directly concerned, but also against the legal system itself and thus democracy.
Actually, the crime is so extremely serious that the penalty should be life imprisonment. But so far we are unlikely to reach even if further punishment on good grounds can be foreseen.
I also believe that we should try to achieve the best possible harmony in court and thus give witnesses better conditions in sensitive cases to want to set up and tell.
Then I think it is time to skip the main rule that the witness should make a statement during personal presence in the trial court. The good experience of hearing via video link from a court other than the trial court should mean that the witness can assume that never have to stand before the trial court in a sensitive case.
With all the most extreme stress this leads to. If the witness knows that it is normal to stand before a court other than the trial court and where it is only known to the trial court and the trial court where the witness is actually located, I think the readiness to stand up and tell is increasing.
All within the framework of current legislation. Only we get away from the view that the main rule should be personal attitude before the trial court.
Instead, I think it is the best hearing conditions for the witnesses that should be decisive. Process harmony should apply to them as well.
In conclusion, I also think it is costly if we all - before we criticize witnesses who do not want to stand - ask ourselves the question: Am I prepared to testify in all conceivable circumstances?
The answer may not be so given.
Such a question, with subsequent analysis of my own self, I feel is important in this context.