In a landmark judgement, a district court in Sweden acquitted a man of sexual assault charges after he had been caught masturbating at Drevviken Beach, Stockholm.
The 65-year-old man apparently removed his shorts and started masturbating in the ocean. The judge at the Södertörn District Court ruled that he would not be termed guilty of sexual assault as he was not targeting any specific person. The public prosecutor agreed on the court decision to free the man. On the other hand, he said that masturbation in public could be considered a disorderly conduct in the future.
Public Prosecutor Olof Vrethammar told The Local that it had to be directed to one or more people if it was to be considered as a criminal offence. This may also mean that it is okay to masturbate in public place, he added. It must be noted that Sweden is yet to recover from a major sex scandal that took place three months back when the Stockholm police announced that a man, accused of having sex with bicycles, was on the loose.
Dr Liz Davies of the London Metropolitan University was shocked to hear the judgement. Ms Davies has researched the child protection system in Sweden. She spoke to the Daily Mail and expressed her surprise. The country has a strong child protection system, she said. It also has an extremely rigorous investigation process for sexual abuse. Such a judgement is surprising because a public act of masturbation could be witnessed by adults and children alike.
Interestingly, one of the political parties in the country announced a couple of months back that they would prefer men not to be standing while urinating. It seems to be an uncanny dichotomy in the Swedish system which declares public masturbation legal while some other people in the same country do not want men to stand while they urinate.
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