(Previously in Swedish on this webbsite 2020)

My view of Sweden as a legally secure and non-corrupt society is based on my faith in the Swedish official as a safe and reliable bureaucrat. An official who has nothing to gain from pursuing short-term popularity among citizens. This is, as I see it, a fantastic model, even if there is no guarantee against incompetence and corruption. However, my view is that most of officials see themselves as having more to lose by exploiting their position for their own gain and therefore avoid committing irregularities. This has led to Sweden’s very low level of corruption.

This has given us officials of the kind exemplified by those who have represented the Public Health Agency of Sweden in the Corona pandemic, people who do not act in their own cause. People who dare to follow a strategy they believe in but are also unpretentiously prepared to change this strategy based on new knowledge. People who do not allow themselves to be attracted to the security of acting like everyone else and who do not try to collect short-term popularity. Officials who may appear boring, but who appear in such a way because they put the “issue” at the center and do not need to shine for their own sake.

However, at the press conference on 10 June 2020 regarding the murder of Olof Palme, I was very surprised by the actions of a Swedish official, a person who fits all the criteria of a reliable official and who has previously demonstrated both competence and good judgment. This is about Chief Prosecutor Krister Petersson.

Krister Petersson was Chief Prosecutor in the investigation of the murder of Olof Palme. At the press conference, Petersson announced that he was closing the investigation and that there was a suspect to the murder. However, Petersson said at the press conference that there is no evidence against the person in question but that he is a possible perpetrator. The person in question is deceased. The person is named but I call him here “Skandiamannen” as he is associated with his workplace that was close to the murder scene.

The most important question about Peterssons actions at the press conference is whether he as a prosecutor should identify an offender if this one can’t respond to and explain what the prosecutor is putting on him. This is not just about the rights of the individual, but above all, about the legal certainty aspect. A prosecutor’s must be seen as just one part in the case, consisting also a defense and a judge. If you remove one of these, the case will fall. A statement on guilt must be seen as a party submission and therefore must the accused have the possibility to present his version to give the independent court a solid basis for making decision.

Petersson takes over the entire legal process and judges Skandiamannen, based only on his own claims, no matter that he saying that it is only about suspicion. By presenting skandiamannen as Palme’s killer as a prosecutor, without the other two parts of the legal process, the prosecutor will be the last and final stage in the legal chain. The accused is also deprived of his right to appeal because there is no real judgment to appeal.

I believe that Petersson has violated his power when, dressed in his office, as any private investigator, speculatively and vaguely, singles out a person guilty of murder and then exercises the authority of his office by closing the investigation.

There is also a plethora of remarkable reasoning that Petersson builds his circumstantial chain around. The most remarkable is his reasoning about the murder weapon. Here he is carrying out an argument that is suspiciously similar to a circular argument. Petersson says that since it is’t possible to tie a weapon to Skandiamannen, you can still assume that he had access to one. In other words, the proof that he had a gun is the murder itself. He wouldn’t have been able to kill Palme if he didn’t have a gun. In this case this is further more complicated by the fact that Skandiamannen is dead.

Other serious problems in Petersson’s case are the clothing issue. Here it is almost painful to see how Petersson picks out an outfit based on different witness statements so that it is consistent with how Skandiamannen was dressed this evening. Add to that, it is Skandiamannen’s own testimony about his own clothing that is the basis for how the police assume he was dressed at the time of the murder… When a part can be suspected to selecting pieces from different testimonials to make a match with his hypothesis, it is important that there is a counterpart that can review this.

The heaviest part of the circumstantial building seems to be the notion that Skandiamannen lied about his movement during the minutes surrounding the murder. But Skandiamannen may have lied for many different reasons except that he tried to hide that he was the one who murdered Palme. For example, he might have wanted to highlight himself because he felt coward because he did not dare to come forward and intervene in the murder. This could be why he then continued to assert his “heroic role”, perhaps mainly to try to convince himself… Skandiamannen may have lied to hide that he was drunk at work and was afraid of losing his job. He may even have remembered wrongly on the basis that he was very stressed (and perhaps drunk). What he says can also be true and that it is other witnesses who remember wrongly on the basis that they perceived and remembered selectively due to very high stress. I could list at least five more alternative, more likely explanations…

There seems also be at least two central witnesses, the so-called “Cheva man” Leif Ljungqvist and Inge Mårelius, who provided witness statements that contradict that it can be  Skandiamannen who murdered Palme. This should have been mentioned and addressed at the press conference. Unfortunately, this now opens the door to the suspicion that these witnesses have been put away on the basis of a similar reasoning to that made on the issue of weapons; Since Skandiamannen is the killer, these witnesses must be wrong. How many more data that contradicts the hypothesis may have been sifted away in a similar way?

Another important point is the question why Lisbeth Palme and witness Jeppson, who have seen the killer relatively clearly, did not recognize Skandiamannen afterwards. He was relatively exposed in the media and sat on the trial of Christer Pettersson. On some of these occasions, they should have seen and recognized him.

To this added, Petersson could not describe at the press conference how Skandiamannen carried out the murder, how he could know where Palme would be, what path he took after the murder or anything about the motive. Petersson described only very vague circumstantial evidence and speculation.

My conclusion is that Krister Petersson made a very serious mistake when he singled out a person as a murderer of sweden’s prime minister based on the extremely weak and speculative circumstantial evidence he presented. But above all, he should have thought about whether this conduct was compatible with his role as a prosecutor and the ethically problematic fact that the accused is deceased and thus unable to respond to the charges. For my personal part my faith in the Swedish competent official took a big hit.

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