A man who was previously convicted of raping children was recently acquitted in the Court of Appeal – this when most of the judges were unsure of the meaning of the word “snip”. Now the hashtag #jagvetvadensnippa is trending on social media.
It was last autumn that a man in his 50s was convicted in the district court after having assaulted a ten-year-old girl. He was sentenced to three years in prison for two counts of child rape.
Acquitted in the Court of Appeal
Last week took off Aftonbladet columnist Oisín Cantwell the fact that the case was taken further to the Court of Appeal for Western Sweden, which in turn acquitted the man of the rape charges. The reason? An uncertainty regarding how the word “snip” should be interpreted.
During questioning, the girl is said to have repeatedly said that the man’s finger “came into her clit”. In the first testimony, she said that the finger was “kind of deep inside”. In addition to this, she must also show with her hands how the alleged abuse took place.
The judgment reads:
“The Court of Appeal has thus found that the prosecutor’s claim that XX put his hand inside the plaintiff’s shorts and panties, held her neckline and had a finger inside the neckline is substantiated.”
The judges looked up the word snipe
The majority of the judges – all but one – considered that it was not clear whether the man had his finger inside the girl’s vagina. This is because the girl used the word “snip” to describe her genitalia.
To ensure what was meant by the word, the judges must have consulted the Swedish dictionary, where the word is described as “the female external genitalia”.
This – together with the fact that during the first telephone interview the girl must have been perceived as unsure whether the man had his finger “in her”, and that she had difficulty explaining how far in the man’s finger was – has led to the man being released from the allegations of rape.
The four male judges who chose to acquit the man of the rape charges have according to Oisin Cantrell an average age of 66.2 years, while the female judge who wanted to convict the man is 30 years old.
“‘Snippa’ is a word that has caught on in fairly modern times and then it is striking that these four male judges have an average age of 66.2 years, I think I calculated,” he says in SVT’s Morgonstudion.
Elisabeth Massi Fritz: “The justice system is failing the girl”
The reactions to the Court of Appeal’s verdict have been strong and now the hashtag #jagvetvadensnippaär is trending on social media.
One of those who have raised their voices regarding the verdict is the lawyer Elisabeth Massi Fritz.
“The girl has described in her own words that the finger was in her clit. What is the problem? What is difficult to understand in the girl’s description? The word snippa is as common as the word snopp. What the girl describes in her own words is that she has been the victim of rape. A crime labeled as rape against children,” she writes in a post on Instagram.
“I would like to add that a legal judge dissented and that reasoning was very good. It should have determined. The sentence must of course be appealed immediately by both the child’s representative and the prosecutor. The Court of Appeal’s judgment needs to be reviewed by the High Court. I am so sorry for the girl, she did everything right and really told the story to the best of her ability and the justice system is failing her.”