A couple of days ago, JO decided that Irmeli Krans did not have any conflict of interest when she interrogated one of the women in the Assange case. There is a complete disregard of the fact that Irmeli Krans knew that the two women went together to the police station to report on the same man. This issue is not problematized at all. There are also some (small) factual errors in the document. Please comment if you want to add info on critical errors or omissions in JO’s description.
Report to JO
RO has, in a report that arrived to JO on March 10, 2011, expressed complaints against the Police Authority in the County of Stockholm. RO has asked JO to review the behavior of a police officer in connection with a preliminary investigation regarding a case of rape (the allegations against Assange). According to RO, the police officer was a close friend to the plaintiff, and despite them being acquainted to one another, “she took the role as interrogator without reporting conflict of interest.” In addition, the police officer has clearly taken a position against Julian Assange through various statements on her blog (translators note: her facebook page). Because of this report, Maria Edlund, on May 2, 2011, submitted a letter on the subject.
The same day that RO’s complaint arrived to JO, the journal Expressen published, on their web, articles describing the events. In those articles, the following, among other things, was reported.
“The police interrogator in the Assange investigation is a friend of one of the two women issuing complaints of sexual assault against the founder of WikiLeaks”. The police officer and the woman came to know each other since they are both active within the social democratic party. In April 2009, the police officer cited a blog entry written by the woman regarding white men “giving themselves the right to decide what is offensive and what is not”. The police officer pointed out that what the woman had written “sets the finger on the important point and speaks for itself”.
Sixteen months later, i.e., in August 2010, the woman went together with another woman to the police and reported the rape. The police officer in question was on duty and interrogated the other reporting woman, without stating a conflict of interest.
When Aftonbladet in February 2011 let their readers chat with Julian Assange, the police officer comment the event on her facebook page. She wrote, among other things “What the hell is this supposed to be? Judgement zero!” She also payed tribute to the plaintiffs’ counsel: “Cheers for Claes Borgström!!!” and described the man [Assange] as the “exaggeratedly haussed up ready-to-burst bubble”.
Documents from the National Police Board’s internal investigation unit have been brought in and examined. These documents show that the case has been subject to scrutiny by the Prosecution Authority, National Unit for investigation of police cases. According to this investigation, the police officer in question only registered the initial report and interrogated the woman she did not know. She was thus not present when the second woman’s report was registered and she has also not been part of the investigation since then. The Deputy Chief Prosecutor Kay Engfeldt decided against this background on March 22, 2011 not to open a preliminary investigation regarding possible misconduct.
For police offers who have to take action or report a decision according to [the Swedish Code of] Judicial Procedure, the same kind of regulations regarding conflict of interest are valid as for judges and prosecutors. Thus, conflict of interest is present for a police officer if, among other things, any special circumstances are present which may undermine the confidence in his or her impartiality (4th chapter, 13 § 10 compared to 7th chapter, 6 and 9 §§ The Swedish Code of Judicial Procedure)
As has been shown, the matter in questions has already been subject to investigation by the Prosecution Authority. The facts which have been revealed regarding the police officer’s dealings in the case also do not motivate any further action from the side of JO. The same is true for the various statements the police officer has made on her blog.
The matter is therefore dismissed from further processing.
Signed by Hans-Gunnar Axberger and Lina Forzelius.
The National Police Board, internal investigation unit in Stockholm (K1516-11)
The Prosecution Authority, National unit for investigation of police cases (AM-45325-11)
Glossary of legal terms:
Google translate fails on certain terms like JO and RO, but here’s my attempt anyway:
JO = Justitieombudsmannen = Ombudsman (of Justice)
RO = Rättsäkerhetsorganisationen = Organization for the rule of law
Polismyndigheten = Police Authority
målsägande = plaintiff
jäv = conflict of interest
inge en skrivelse = submit a letter
målsägandebiträde = plaintiff’s counsel
Rikspolisstyrelsen = National Police Board
internutredingsenheten = internal investigation unit
Åklagarmyndigheten = Prosecution Authority
Riksenheten för polismål = National unit for investigation of police cases
förundersökning = preliminary investigation
tjänstefel = misconduct
Rättegångsbalken = The Swedish Code of Judicial Procedure
Here it is, translated to English btw:
Vice chefsåklagare = Deputy Chief Prosecutor
Expressen is not a right-wing tabloid. It’s just a tabloid.