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
17.8% Of People Living In Iceland Use Public Transport, And It’s Not Only Who You Think

17.8% Of People Living In Iceland Use Public Transport, And It’s Not Only Who You Think

by

Nearly 18% of people living in Iceland regularly used public transport in 2014 according to Statistics Iceland, the official data collection

News
Foreigners Still Needed For Tourism Jobs

Foreigners Still Needed For Tourism Jobs

by

Jobs in the tourist industry, especially in the countryside, are in dire need of workers, and foreigners may be more

News
Over 28,000 Sign Fishing Quota Petition

Over 28,000 Sign Fishing Quota Petition

by

Over 28,000 Icelanders so far have signed a petition calling on the president to put quota fishing legislation up for

News
Bottled Water More Expensive Than Petrol

Bottled Water More Expensive Than Petrol

by

Buying bottled water in Iceland is not only completely unnecessary; it might also be even more expensive than fuelling up

News
Cops Don’t Need More Guns

Cops Don’t Need More Guns

by

The former head of the capital area police’s sexual assault division argues that the police do not need more guns;

News
Pirate Party Surges To Top In Gallup Poll

Pirate Party Surges To Top In Gallup Poll

by

According to a new Gallup poll, the Pirate Party has the highest level of support of any party in parliament.

Show Me More!