Sakkunnigbeviset - är kunskap makt? - En rättsfallsstudie av sakkunnigbevisning i mål med sexsomniinvändningar
Sammanfattning: During the last decade a new defense has emerged in rape cases in Sweden; the defendant claims to have carried out the sexual act while sleeping and consequently to have acted without intent. The medical term for performing sexual acts while sleeping is sexsomnia, a subcategory to sleepwalking. In sexsomnia cases it is common to call an expert witness to describe the phenomenon and assess the likeliness of sexsomnia in the present case. The purpose of this thesis is to examine to what extent expert witnesses in sexsomnia cases affect the verdict. The thesis is centered on the court’s rationale with regards to the expert witness and sexsomnia defense. Four aspects of the rationale were analyzed: the expert witness’ credibility, the reliability of the experience-based criteria and the expert statement and the expert statement’s influence on the court’s reasoning. The case study showed that the court’s approach towards expert testimony lacks in both objectivity and impartiality and fails to secure the defendant’s right to equality. The victim’s interest of right to safeness was satisfied to a higher degree since the defendant was found guilty in eleven of the cases. Only five of the remaining verdicts were acquittals due to the courts’ approach to the expert statement and thus relevant to this essay. In all five cases it was clear that the defendant’s right to equality prevailed: the court was reluctant to base a judgement on unclear criteria or play a more active role in the process as that would risk the perception of the court as impartial. However, since the victim’s right to safeness was satisfied in eleven cases compared to continuous neglect of the defendant’s right to equality, the conclusion was that the victim’s right to safeness was satisfied to a higher degree.
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