Sweden's Supreme Court Holds Trial for Translator's Child Pornography Charges
posted on by Crystalyn Hodgkins
The Supreme Court of Sweden held its appeals trial on Wednesday for manga translator Simon Lundström on possession of child pornography for 39 manga images. Lundström appealed his case to the Supreme Court after Sweden's Svea Court of Appeals had upheld its conviction against him in January 2011.
During the trial, Lundström's laywer brought in several expert witnesses, including University of Gävle comics researcher Johan Höjer. "These are not real people," Höjer said. "The prosecution has a tendency to view these drawings as camouflaged photos, but these are animated fantasies."
Prosecutor Hedvig Trost argued during the proceedings that the images could be used to coerce a child into performing sexual acts, noting that "And even a drawing could be of a real child. A photo depicting a real child could have been used to make the drawing. It is hard from the outside to know whether there is an original photo or not."
On Tuesday, Björn Sellström, a criminal inspector of Sweden's National Bureau of Investigation's child pornography unit, wrote in the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper that the images should not be considered pornography, noting that he was "doubtful of how a conviction would benefit those children who are actually suffering from real abuse which is being documented."
A lower district court in Uppsala had originally convicted Lundström in June 2010 for 51 images on his computer and fined him 25,000 kronor (about US$3,500). The Svea Court of Appeals upheld the conviction but lowered the image count to 39 and lowered Lundström's fine to 5,600 kronor (about US$780).
Lundström has translated more than 80 volumes in two series for the publisher Bonnier Carlsen in the last decade. However, after the Uppsala ruling in June 2010, Bonnier Carlsen ended its working relationship with Lundström.
At the end of Wednesday's trial, the Supreme Court noted that a final verdict would be given "in a few weeks."