Advanced

Användning och värdering av karaktärsbevis

Holmström, Anna LU (2020) JURM02 20201
Department of Law
Faculty of Law
Abstract
The principle of free presentation and evaluation of evidence is the most fundamental principle in Swedish evidence law. Consequently, there are no general prohibitions against so called character evidence. Despite this, character evidence is a frequent object of discussion in evidence law literature. The purpose of this thesis is to examine the admissibility and value of character evidence in Swedish law, both through a descriptive study and a normative discussion.

All evidence can be divided into two categories: trace evidence and predictive evidence. Character evidence belongs to the latter. Character evidence can consist either of evidence of criminal character or evidence of non-criminal character. The first type of evidence is... (More)
The principle of free presentation and evaluation of evidence is the most fundamental principle in Swedish evidence law. Consequently, there are no general prohibitions against so called character evidence. Despite this, character evidence is a frequent object of discussion in evidence law literature. The purpose of this thesis is to examine the admissibility and value of character evidence in Swedish law, both through a descriptive study and a normative discussion.

All evidence can be divided into two categories: trace evidence and predictive evidence. Character evidence belongs to the latter. Character evidence can consist either of evidence of criminal character or evidence of non-criminal character. The first type of evidence is attributed to criminal record while the second is concerned with other reprehensible character traits. The thesis describes how character evidence can be used to influence the credibility assessment and the question of guilt.

The study presents relevant case law that concern the two types of character evidence and the various ways to use them. Character evidence is admitted in every case but the general consensus seems to be that such evidence is of low value. Furthermore, the thesis contains an international view where the English, American and international stance on character evidence is presented. In common law systems, the use of character evidence is regulated by law but despite the restrictive rules there are some exceptions where character evidence may be admissible. In international criminal law character evidence is mostly seen as irrelevant and in any case of low value.

Psychological research forms the foundation for using character as evidence since it is based on theories on character traits and their stability over time. The thesis provides an overview of some research on the area. There are indications that character evidence should be assigned low value due to the so called attribution error, where character traits are over-emphasised and situational explanations are under-emphasised when assessing the behaviour of people.

At the end of the thesis various arguments that have been presented in evidence law literature are raised, e.g. the problem of incitement, the criminal record paradox, the reference class problem and a feminist perspective. These arguments approach the topic of character evidence from different angles. The analysis provides a conclusion on the admissibility and value of character evidence in Swedish law. Additionally, there is a discussion about the consequences of using character evidence and what value it should be assigned. My conclusion is that character evidence shall be admissible since the positive consequences outweigh the negative. However, the value of character evidence must be low since there are risks of uncertainty in the evaluation of the evidence. (Less)
Abstract (Swedish)
Den fria bevisprövningen är den mest grundläggande principen i svensk bevisrätt. Det finns därför inget principiellt hinder mot så kallad karaktärsbevisning. Trots det är karaktärsbevisning alltjämt föremål för diskussion i den bevisrättsliga litteraturen. Den här uppsatsens syfte är att undersöka tillåtligheten och värdet av karaktärsbevisning i svensk rätt, både genom en deskriptiv undersökning och en normativ diskussion.

All bevisning kan delas upp i kategorierna spårbevisning och predicerande bevisning, där karaktärsbevisning hör till den senare kategorin. Karaktärsbevisning kan antingen vara bevisning om kriminell karaktär eller bevisning om icke-kriminell karaktär. Den första sorten hänförs till kriminell belastning, medan den... (More)
Den fria bevisprövningen är den mest grundläggande principen i svensk bevisrätt. Det finns därför inget principiellt hinder mot så kallad karaktärsbevisning. Trots det är karaktärsbevisning alltjämt föremål för diskussion i den bevisrättsliga litteraturen. Den här uppsatsens syfte är att undersöka tillåtligheten och värdet av karaktärsbevisning i svensk rätt, både genom en deskriptiv undersökning och en normativ diskussion.

All bevisning kan delas upp i kategorierna spårbevisning och predicerande bevisning, där karaktärsbevisning hör till den senare kategorin. Karaktärsbevisning kan antingen vara bevisning om kriminell karaktär eller bevisning om icke-kriminell karaktär. Den första sorten hänförs till kriminell belastning, medan den andra sorten rör andra klandervärda karaktärsdrag. Uppsatsen undersöker hur karaktärsbevisning kan användas för att påverka trovärdighetsbedömningen och skuldfrågan.

Undersökningen går igenom relevanta rättsfall som berör olika sorters karaktärsbevis och olika sätt att använda karaktärsbevis. I samtliga fall tillåts karaktärsbevisning men den genomgående inställningen tycks vara att tillmäta bevisningen lågt värde. Det görs även en internationell utblick där engelsk, amerikansk och internationell syn på karaktärsbevisning presenteras. I den anglosaxiska rätten regleras användningen av karaktärsbevis i lag men trots den restriktiva synen finns vissa undantag då karaktärsbevisning kan användas. I internationell straffrätt betraktas karaktärsbevisning vara irrelevant i de flesta fall och i vilket fall ha lågt värde.

Psykologisk forskning ligger till grund för att använda karaktär som bevisning, eftersom det baserar sig på teorier om karaktärsdrag och deras stabilitet över tid. Uppsatsen ger en översiktlig bild av viss forskning på området. Det finns indikationer på att karaktärsbevisning bör ha lågt värde på grund av det så kallade attributionsfelet, där karaktärsdrag överskattas och situationsbetingelser underskattas vid bedömningar av personers beteenden.

I slutet av uppsatsen lyfts olika argument som förts i den rättsvetenskapliga diskussionen, exempelvis incitamentsproblemet, belastningsparadoxen, referensklassproblemet och ett feministiskt perspektiv. Dessa resonemang bidrar med olika infallsvinklar på ämnet karaktärsbevisning. I analysen ges en sammanfattande slutsats om hur karaktärsbevisning tillåts och värderas i svensk rätt. Det förs även en diskussion kring konsekvenserna av att använda karaktärsbevisning och vilket värde som den bör tillmätas. Min slutsats är att karaktärsbevisning bör tillåtas eftersom de positiva konsekvenserna överväger de negativa men att värdet av karaktärsbevisning bör vara lågt eftersom det finns risk för osäkerhet i bevisvärderingen. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Holmström, Anna LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
The Admissibility and Value of Character Evidence
course
JURM02 20201
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
allmän rättslära, jurisprudence, bevisrätt, evidence law, bevisvärdering, karaktärsbevis, character evidence
language
Swedish
id
9010380
date added to LUP
2020-06-16 10:57:48
date last changed
2020-06-16 10:57:48
@misc{9010380,
  abstract     = {The principle of free presentation and evaluation of evidence is the most fundamental principle in Swedish evidence law. Consequently, there are no general prohibitions against so called character evidence. Despite this, character evidence is a frequent object of discussion in evidence law literature. The purpose of this thesis is to examine the admissibility and value of character evidence in Swedish law, both through a descriptive study and a normative discussion.

All evidence can be divided into two categories: trace evidence and predictive evidence. Character evidence belongs to the latter. Character evidence can consist either of evidence of criminal character or evidence of non-criminal character. The first type of evidence is attributed to criminal record while the second is concerned with other reprehensible character traits. The thesis describes how character evidence can be used to influence the credibility assessment and the question of guilt.

The study presents relevant case law that concern the two types of character evidence and the various ways to use them. Character evidence is admitted in every case but the general consensus seems to be that such evidence is of low value. Furthermore, the thesis contains an international view where the English, American and international stance on character evidence is presented. In common law systems, the use of character evidence is regulated by law but despite the restrictive rules there are some exceptions where character evidence may be admissible. In international criminal law character evidence is mostly seen as irrelevant and in any case of low value.

Psychological research forms the foundation for using character as evidence since it is based on theories on character traits and their stability over time. The thesis provides an overview of some research on the area. There are indications that character evidence should be assigned low value due to the so called attribution error, where character traits are over-emphasised and situational explanations are under-emphasised when assessing the behaviour of people.

At the end of the thesis various arguments that have been presented in evidence law literature are raised, e.g. the problem of incitement, the criminal record paradox, the reference class problem and a feminist perspective. These arguments approach the topic of character evidence from different angles. The analysis provides a conclusion on the admissibility and value of character evidence in Swedish law. Additionally, there is a discussion about the consequences of using character evidence and what value it should be assigned. My conclusion is that character evidence shall be admissible since the positive consequences outweigh the negative. However, the value of character evidence must be low since there are risks of uncertainty in the evaluation of the evidence.},
  author       = {Holmström, Anna},
  keyword      = {allmän rättslära,jurisprudence,bevisrätt,evidence law,bevisvärdering,karaktärsbevis,character evidence},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Användning och värdering av karaktärsbevis},
  year         = {2020},
}