MaulerOfEmotards sends along an in-depth followup, from the Swedish press, of our discussion the other day about the biased trial judge in the Pirate Bay case. "The turmoil concerns Tomas Norström, the presiding judge of The Pirate Bay trial, who is suspected of bias after reports surfaced of affiliation with copyright protection organizations. For this he has been reported to the appeals court (in Swedish; translation here). The circus around the judge is currently focused on three points. First, his personal affiliation with at least four copyright protection organizations, a state the potential bias of which he himself fails to see and refuses to admit. Secondly, Swedish trials use a system of several lay assessors to supervise the presiding judge. One of these, a member of an artists' interest organization, was forced by Mr. Norström to resign from the trial for potential bias. The judge's failure to see the obvious contradiction in this (translation) casts doubts on his suitability and competence. Thirdly, according to professor of judicial sociology Håkan Hydén (translation), the judge has inappropriately 'duped and influenced the lay assessors' during the trial: 'a judge that has decided that "this is something we can't allow" has little problem
finding legal arguments that are difficult for assisting lay assessors to counter.'" Click the link below to read further on Professor Hydén's enumeration of "at least three strange things in a strange trial." On a related note, reader Siker adds the factoid that membership in the Pirate Party exploded 150% in the week following the verdict. The Pirate Party now surpasses in size four smaller parties in Sweden, and is closing in on a fifth. Political fallout could ensue as soon as June, when an election for EU parliament will be held.
Professor Hydén continues with enumerating "at least three strange things in a strange trial" (translation): First, that someone can be sentenced for being accessory to a crime for which there is no main culprit: "This assumes someone else having committed the crime, and no such individual exists here... the system cannot charge the real culprits or it would collapse in its entirety." It is unprecedented in Swedish judicial history to sentence only an accessory. Second, that the accessories should pay the fine for a crime committed by the main culprits, "which causes the law to contradict itself." And third, that accessories cannot be sentenced to harsher than the main culprit, which means that every downloader must be sentenced to a year's confinement. Prof. Hydén sums up by saying that to allow this kind of judgement the Swedish Parliament must first pass a bill making this kind of services illegal, which it has not done.