Women and Justice: Keywords

Domestic Case Law

RH 2010:6 Svea hovrätt (Svea Court of Appeal) (2010)

Sexual violence and rape

The defendant was charge with sex crimes, including: (1) rape of woman A, (2) sexual coercion and rape of woman B, and (3) sexual coercion and attempted rape of woman C.  It was alleged that the defendant assaulted all three women while he was highly intoxicated.  The district court convicted the defendant on all charges, but the Court of Appeal reversed the convictions on the charges related to women B and C.  Regarding woman A, however, the Court of Appeal affirmed defendant’s conviction because, at the time of the rape, woman A was in a helpless condition and asleep from intoxication.  Although the defendant argued that he should not be held liable because he was intoxicated, the court rejected his defense.  The Court of Appeal recognized that the law classifies rape as less severe if there is no penetration, or that the penetration was brief and interrupted after the victim wakes up and objects to having intercourse, no such mitigating circumstances were present. Consequently, the defendant was convicted of rape of the “normal” degree (Sw. av normalgraden).

Rex v. Ntai High Court of Lesotho (2004)

Domestic and intimate partner violence, Gender-based violence in general

The defendant was convicted of culpable homicide. The trial evidence showed that after spending an evening at a bar, the defendant beat his girlfriend to death. The defendant sought leniency at sentencing, arguing that he was drunk when he committed the offense.  The High Court found that although intoxication somewhat lessens the blameworthiness of a person, the courts should not consider it a mitigating factor. According to the Court, defendants “should not be allowed to escape appropriate punishment for their actions for reasons of drunkenness, especially where such actions exhibit an attitude of violence against women” (p. 3).  The Court sentenced the defendant to seven years imprisonment with half of the sentence suspended for five years if he was not found guilty of another violent offense during the suspension. This decision marked a shift in how intoxication was treated for purposes of sentencing in domestic violence cases in Lesotho.