Supreme Court Decision Confounds Common Sense

Published February 1, 2013

The prosecuting attorney and the single female justice in a recent Supreme Court case involving sexual assault disagree strongly with the opinion of the other justices. Trigger warning: sexual assault details are included in this article.
The case in question saw four people – three men and one woman – accused of forcing their way into the home of a young woman in Hafnarfjörður in December 2011. The woman was physically assaulted by the group, among other ways, by having a a finger forcefully inserted into her anus and vagina against her will. Police charged the perpetrators of the act with sexual assault.
Amazingly, the four of the five Supreme Court justices – all of them male – ruled that this particular part of the attack was not sexual assault. The reason they gave was that the assault was not meant to achieve sexual gratification, but rather to “only” physically hurt the victim.
The only female justice on the case, Ingibjörg Benediktsdóttir, wrote a dissenting opinion. She referred to Article 194 of the Icelandic General Penal Code, which states: “Anyone who by means of violence or threats of violence forces a person to have carnal intercourse or other sexual intimacy shall be subject to imprisonment for no less than 1 year and up to 16 years. Violence is considered to include the deprivation of independence by means of confinement, pharmaceuticals or in other comparable ways.” The definition as such, she argued, it does not matter if the perpetrators were trying to gratify themselves sexually or not – the victim was sexually assaulted and humiliated by the ordeal.
Hulda Elsa Björgvinsdóttir, the prosecuting attorney in the case, agreed with Ingibjörg, saying that the court speculating on the thoughts of the perpetrator, rather than what the criminal act entailed, sets a bad precedent. She added that the matter was clearly a case of sexual torture.
Acquitted in the highest court in the country, the perpetrators cannot be tried again for the sexual assault charge. They were all, however, sentenced to prison for physical assault.



News
Hanna Birna May Avoid Parliamentary Hearing

Hanna Birna May Avoid Parliamentary Hearing

by

It’s likely that, because of her recent resignation, former Minister of the Interior, Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir, will not have to face a parliamentary hearing on the leaked memo scandal, reports RÚV. Hanna Birna was due to appear in a live and publicly televised hearing to discuss her role in the leaked memo case, as well as answer to allegations that she may have tried to influence the course of an ongoing police investigation of her ministry by threatening former Commissioner of the Capital Area Police, Stefán Eiríksson. According to Helgi Bernódusson, the parliment’s Office Manager, a minister is both politically responsible

News
Migrant Butchers Working Seasonally In Iceland

Migrant Butchers Working Seasonally In Iceland

by

Every year, several dozen butchers commute from provincial New Zealand to rural Iceland – for just two months’ work, reports the BBC. As work commutes go, the journey takes some beating, roughly 22,300km (about 13,850 miles) each way. The roughly 30 butchers travel to Iceland for the lamb processing season, which begins each September. “My friends say ‘Iceland? What do you kill there – seals?’ Nah, they’ve got their own breed of sheep,” said Shawn Parkinson who has made the trip for the past seven years. “We’d be out of work if we stayed in New Zealand at this time

News
Ice Cave Construction Underway

Ice Cave Construction Underway

by

A 500 metre long ice cave is currently being tunnelled into Iceland’s Langjökull glacier. So far the crew have dug the cave’s entrance, roughly 200 metres into the glacier and are experimenting with how to light the tunnel. Plans are to turn the cave into a tourist destination where visitors can learn about glacial formations and potentially, even get married. “In the tunnel there’ll be a room,” said Sigurður Skarphéðinsson, CEO of the Ice Cave Iceland project. “We like to call it the multipurpose room and there, in cooperation with others, we’ll be able to offer people the chance to

News
Head To Toe Arsenal Gear, Except At Funerals

Head To Toe Arsenal Gear, Except At Funerals

by

Hardcore Icelandic Arsenal fan, Sigfríð Ingólfsdóttir, only ever wears Arsenal gear or Arsenal themed clothing, reports Vikudagur, except when she has to attend funerals. Sigfríð, 62, began following English football 30 years ago and first started supporting Arsenal after thinking the name of the team was pretty neat. She has since become one of Arsenal’s most dedicated fans in Iceland, has an “Arsenal Room” in her home, and is regularly stopped to discuss games. “I get stopped out on the street, people like to talk to me about Arsenal and football in general,” said Sigfríð. “Some of them are on

News
A Farewell To Arms

A Farewell To Arms

by

The MP5 submachine guns Iceland received from Norway will be sent back, the Icelandic Coast Guard has announced. According to the announcement, posted today on the Coast Guard’s website, the conclusion of talks with the Norwegian army yesterday and today led to the decision to return the guns, which have been held by toll authorities over the past few weeks. Customs officials held onto the guns on account of a dispute over whether the guns were a gift or a purchase. The Icelandic Coast Guard contends that “almost all the weapons in possession of the Icelandic Coast Guard (90%) have

News
Minister Of The Interior Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir To Resign

Minister Of The Interior Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir To Resign

by

Minister of the Interior, Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir, is expected to announce that she is stepping down today and will not return to parliament until the New Year, according to RÚV. Hanna Birna has been under a lot of scrutiny following the leak of incriminating and falsified information about Nigerion asylum seeker Tony Omos. She has maintained her innocence throughout the affair, even after her aide Gísli Freyr Valdórsson admitted to the leak. Despite the Independence party and PM Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson declaring their support of her, a lot of pressure has been on her to resign, including from the 1,000 people that

Show Me More!