by Mike Masnick
Tue, Aug 30th 2011 12:58pm
Last week, there was a lot of attention to criminal charges brought against a 15-year-old kid in Sweden, after his school's headmaster turned him over to the police after discovering some downloaded films and file sharing software on his computer. It did seem absurd to charge him with a crime, rather than civil infringement, but that's what happened, and the prosecutor in the case seemed almost gleeful about the possibility of convicting the boy of a crime. Except... it took just a few days for the court to acquit the boy. The ruling involved a head judge and three "lay judges." From my understanding of the Swedish judicial system, "lay judges" are somewhat (though not exactly) akin to a jury in the US (Swedes feel free to chime in and clarify). There was apparently a split among the lay judges, with two voting against conviction and one being in favor. The split resulted in acquittal. The prosecutor, rather than recognizing the sheer absurdity of the case, instead insists that it's "absurd" the kid was acquitted, and now vows to appeal. Because there's nothing more important than convicting someone of a crime for sharing a couple movies. Honestly, if Swedish prosecutors wanted to draw more support for the Swedish Pirate Party, I don't think they could have picked a better strategy.
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