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Bevisvärdering i brottmål - En kvantitativ studie av vittnesjäv i mål om våldtäkt

Ewazzada, Nasim LU (2020) JURM02 20202
Department of Law
Faculty of Law
Abstract
An important type of evidence in criminal cases consists of the interrogations held with different people at a main hearing. People who are not parties to the case are heard as witnesses. Legislation dealing with evidence in the form of witnesses cannot fail to take into account that these evidence are extremely variable. This with regard to the greater or lesser ability of a witness to give a true and complete statement. The legal theory of evidence and the laws that ruled in Sweden since the Middle Ages and well into the new era therefore took a position in excluding testimonies whose credibility could in one way or another be questioned. The law stated an evidence evaluation system for witness conflict which was divided into absolute... (More)
An important type of evidence in criminal cases consists of the interrogations held with different people at a main hearing. People who are not parties to the case are heard as witnesses. Legislation dealing with evidence in the form of witnesses cannot fail to take into account that these evidence are extremely variable. This with regard to the greater or lesser ability of a witness to give a true and complete statement. The legal theory of evidence and the laws that ruled in Sweden since the Middle Ages and well into the new era therefore took a position in excluding testimonies whose credibility could in one way or another be questioned. The law stated an evidence evaluation system for witness conflict which was divided into absolute conflict and relative conflict. Persons who were closely related to either party or financially interested in the outcome of the case were considered disqualified and therefore prevented from testifying.

However, such a system was considered to be deficient because it was not possible to draw a line between trustworthy and unreliable witnesses. The testimony of that time is considered to be a contributing factor to erroneous conclusions and materially incorrect judgments.

The introduction of the principle of free examination of evidence took a clear distance from the legal theory of evidence. The principle of free examination of evidence would lead to the above mentioned difficulties ceasing as everyone who has to do with the case could be heard as a witness, including relatives of a party to the case. The court would, with the help of the principle of free examination of evidence, take into account circumstances that may affect the assessment of a witness's credibility and take this fact into account when examining the value of the evidence in the trial.

Due to this, an empirical examination of the decisions of the lower instances has been made in order to investigate how judges relate to the presence of a witness. It was also checked whether judges are objective in their assessment of the witness quarrel, that is, whether they make a difference in the assessment depending on which party invoked the witness. The study shows that the problem of a witness 'conflict remains because the court has not fully succeeded to consider the circumstances that affect the assessment of a witness' credibility. The study shows that a testimony dispute is of relevance, but despite this, the court in most cases has not paid any attention to the dispute relationship. Once the court has taken the dispute relationship into account the study shows that they do so to a greater extent on the part of the defendants in relation to the witnesses invoked by the plaintiffs.

Potential explanations have been examined to answer why there is a difference in the assessment of a testimony. Although potential explanations can provide answers as to why this difference arose in their assessment of the witness dispute, they have not been considered to be able to justify the difference.

The assessment of the witness dispute does not comply with the principle of “benefit of the doubt” but above all it contradicts the principle of free examination of evidence. The latter means, in contrast to the legal theory of evidence, that the judge is free in his evaluation of evidence. However, the fact that the judge is free in his or her evaluation of evidence does not mean that he or she may base his or her decision on a purely subjective view of the value of the various pieces of evidence. The principle means that the judge has a strong duty of objectivity while evaluating the evidence that appears in the case.

It appears unrealistic and skewed that the legislator prescribes an absolute objectively evaluation of evidence with no subjective elements. This is particularly remarkable because the examination of evidence has been left to legal assessors to draw conscientious conclusions about the evidence on their own on the basis of "general theorems" and "common sense". (Less)
Abstract (Swedish)
En viktig typ av bevisning i brottmål utgörs av de förhör som hålls med olika personer vid huvudförhandlingen. Personer som inte är parter i målet hörs som vittnen. En lagstiftning som behandlar bevis i form av vittnen kan inte undgå att beakta värdet av att detta bevis är oerhört växlande. Detta med hänsyn till den större eller mindre förmågan hos ett vittne att vilja avge en sann och fullständig utsaga. Den legala bevisteorin och de lagar som härskade i Sverige sedan medeltiden och långt in på den nya tiden tog därför en ståndpunkt i att utesluta vittnesmål vilkas trovärdighet på ett eller annat sätt kunde ifrågasättas. Lagen föreskrev ett bevisvärderingssystem för vittnesjäv vilka delades in i absoluta jäv och relativa jäv. Personer som... (More)
En viktig typ av bevisning i brottmål utgörs av de förhör som hålls med olika personer vid huvudförhandlingen. Personer som inte är parter i målet hörs som vittnen. En lagstiftning som behandlar bevis i form av vittnen kan inte undgå att beakta värdet av att detta bevis är oerhört växlande. Detta med hänsyn till den större eller mindre förmågan hos ett vittne att vilja avge en sann och fullständig utsaga. Den legala bevisteorin och de lagar som härskade i Sverige sedan medeltiden och långt in på den nya tiden tog därför en ståndpunkt i att utesluta vittnesmål vilkas trovärdighet på ett eller annat sätt kunde ifrågasättas. Lagen föreskrev ett bevisvärderingssystem för vittnesjäv vilka delades in i absoluta jäv och relativa jäv. Personer som var nära släkt med endera parten eller ekonomiskt intresserade av sakens utgång betraktades som jäviga och på den grund förhindrade att vittna.

Ett sådant jävssystem ansågs emellertid vara bristfällig på grund av att det inte gick att dra en gräns mellan tillförlitliga och otillförlitliga vittnen. Den ansågs även bidra till att såväl jäviga som ojäviga personer kom att höras som vittnen. Äldre tiders jävssystem anses vara en bidragande faktor till rättsförlust och materiellt oriktiga domar.

Genom införandet av principen om fri bevisprövning tog man ett klart avstånd ifrån den legala bevisteorin. Den fria bevisprövningens princip skulle leda till att ovannämnda vanskligheter skulle upphöra då alla som har med målet att göra skulle kunna höras som vittne, inklusive anhöriga till part i målet. Rätten skulle med hjälp av principen om fri bevisprövning beakta omständigheter som kan påverka bedömningen av ett vittnes trovärdighet och ta hänsyn till detta förhållande vid sin prövning av bevisets värde i rättegången.
Med anledning därav har en empirisk undersökning av underinstansernas avgöranden gjorts i syfte att utreda hur domare förhåller sig till förekomsten av vittnesjäv. I samband med undersökningen kontrollerades även ifall domare förhåller sig objektiva i sin bedömning av vittnesjäven, det vill säga om de gör skillnad i bedömningen beroende på vilken part som åberopat vittnet. Undersökningen som häri gjorts visar att problematiken med vittnesjäv kvarstår eftersom rätten fullt ut inte lyckats ta tillvara på de omständigheter som påverkar bedömandet av ett vittnes trovärdighet. Studien visar att vittnesjäv har en betydelse men trots det har rätten i de flesta fallen överhuvudtaget inte uppmärksammat jävsrelationen. När domstolen väl beaktat vittnesjäv har de dessutom beaktat det i större utsträckning på de tilltalades sida i förhållande till de vittnen målsägandena åberopat. I arbetet har potentiella förklaringar undersökts för att besvara varför en skillnad förekommer i bedömningen av vittnesjäv. Även om potentiella förklaringar som redogjorts för i arbetet möjligtvis kan ge svar på varför denna skillnad uppstått i deras bedömning av vittnesjäven har de inte ansetts kunna rättfärdiga skillnaden.

Bedömningen av vittnesjäven strider mot principen om att hellre fria än att fälla men framförallt mot den fria bevisprövningens princip. Den senare innebär till skillnad från den legala bevisteorin, att domaren är fri vid sin bevisvärdering. Att domaren är fri vid sin bevisvärdering innebär dock inte att han eller hon får grunda sitt avgörande på en rent subjektiv uppfattning rörande de olika bevisens värde. Principen innebär att höga krav ställs på domaren att utifrån objektiva grunder värdera den bevisning som förekommer i målet.

Det framstår därmed som orealistiskt och skevt att lagstiftaren föreskriver en objektivt präglad bevisvärdering som inte får grunda sig på subjektiva inslag. Det är särskilt anmärkningsvärt eftersom bevisprövningen lämnats åt juridiska bedömare att på egen hand dra samvetsgranna slutsatser om bevisningen på basis av ”allmänna erfarenhetssatser” och ”sunt förnuft”. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Ewazzada, Nasim LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
Evaluation of evidence in criminal cases
course
JURM02 20202
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
Allmän rättslära, Straffrätt, Bevisvärdering, Våldtäkt, processrätt, vittnesjäv
language
Swedish
id
9034379
date added to LUP
2021-01-23 14:25:00
date last changed
2021-01-23 14:25:00
@misc{9034379,
  abstract     = {An important type of evidence in criminal cases consists of the interrogations held with different people at a main hearing. People who are not parties to the case are heard as witnesses. Legislation dealing with evidence in the form of witnesses cannot fail to take into account that these evidence are extremely variable. This with regard to the greater or lesser ability of a witness to give a true and complete statement. The legal theory of evidence and the laws that ruled in Sweden since the Middle Ages and well into the new era therefore took a position in excluding testimonies whose credibility could in one way or another be questioned. The law stated an evidence evaluation system for witness conflict which was divided into absolute conflict and relative conflict. Persons who were closely related to either party or financially interested in the outcome of the case were considered disqualified and therefore prevented from testifying.

However, such a system was considered to be deficient because it was not possible to draw a line between trustworthy and unreliable witnesses. The testimony of that time is considered to be a contributing factor to erroneous conclusions and materially incorrect judgments.

The introduction of the principle of free examination of evidence took a clear distance from the legal theory of evidence. The principle of free examination of evidence would lead to the above mentioned difficulties ceasing as everyone who has to do with the case could be heard as a witness, including relatives of a party to the case. The court would, with the help of the principle of free examination of evidence, take into account circumstances that may affect the assessment of a witness's credibility and take this fact into account when examining the value of the evidence in the trial.

Due to this, an empirical examination of the decisions of the lower instances has been made in order to investigate how judges relate to the presence of a witness. It was also checked whether judges are objective in their assessment of the witness quarrel, that is, whether they make a difference in the assessment depending on which party invoked the witness. The study shows that the problem of a witness 'conflict remains because the court has not fully succeeded to consider the circumstances that affect the assessment of a witness' credibility. The study shows that a testimony dispute is of relevance, but despite this, the court in most cases has not paid any attention to the dispute relationship. Once the court has taken the dispute relationship into account the study shows that they do so to a greater extent on the part of the defendants in relation to the witnesses invoked by the plaintiffs. 

Potential explanations have been examined to answer why there is a difference in the assessment of a testimony. Although potential explanations can provide answers as to why this difference arose in their assessment of the witness dispute, they have not been considered to be able to justify the difference.

The assessment of the witness dispute does not comply with the principle of “benefit of the doubt” but above all it contradicts the principle of free examination of evidence. The latter means, in contrast to the legal theory of evidence, that the judge is free in his evaluation of evidence. However, the fact that the judge is free in his or her evaluation of evidence does not mean that he or she may base his or her decision on a purely subjective view of the value of the various pieces of evidence. The principle means that the judge has a strong duty of objectivity while evaluating the evidence that appears in the case. 

It appears unrealistic and skewed that the legislator prescribes an absolute objectively evaluation of evidence with no subjective elements. This is particularly remarkable because the examination of evidence has been left to legal assessors to draw conscientious conclusions about the evidence on their own on the basis of "general theorems" and "common sense".},
  author       = {Ewazzada, Nasim},
  keyword      = {Allmän rättslära,Straffrätt,Bevisvärdering,Våldtäkt,processrätt,vittnesjäv},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Bevisvärdering i brottmål - En kvantitativ studie av vittnesjäv i mål om våldtäkt},
  year         = {2020},
}