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Public Masturbation Legal In Sweden

A court in Sweden has ruled that it is acceptable to masturbate in public as long as it is not directed at anyone. The ruling came in a land...

Public Masturbation Legal In Sweden

A court in Sweden has ruled that it is acceptable to masturbate in public as long as it is not directed at anyone.

The ruling came in a landmark judgement following a case brought against a man seen touching himself on a beach.

The 65-year-old man, who dropped his shorts close to the water at Drevviken beach, Stockholm, and started to masturbate, was initially charged with sexual assault.

But in a surprise ruling, the Södertörn District Court acquitted the man. While the judgement stated it 'may be proven that the man exposed himself and masturbated on this occasion', it subsequently added that no offence had been committed.

Public Masturbation Legal In Sweden
It based its finding on the fact that the man was not pleasuring himself towards a specific person, according to Sweden's English language news website, The Local.

Prosecutors held their hands up in agreement, underlining that the law calls for the act to be directed at another person to count as a crime.

Public prosecutor Olof Vrethammar told the Mitti newspaper that he wasn't planning to appeal the ruling.

He told the paper, quoted in The Local: 'For this to be a criminal offence it's required that the sexual molestation was directed towards one or more people. I think the court's judgement is reasonable.'


Public Masturbation Legal In Sweden

The decision raises questions about whether public masturbation will now be acceptable across Sweden, so long as it is not directed at another person.

Mr Vrethammar appeared to think so, 'The district court has made a judgement on this case. With that we can conclude that it is okay to masturbate on the beach. The act may be considered to be disorderly conduct' he said.

Sweden, like its Scandinavian neighbours, tends to have a more tolerant and sometimes progressive approach to social issues.

But this landmark ruling raises concerns over the extent to which people will take advantage of the freedom to masturbate with impunity in public.

Dr Liz Davies, a Reader in Child Protection at London Metropolitan University who has carried out research into Sweden's child protection system, said she thought this ruling was surprising.

'Sweden has a really robust child protection system and very rigorous investigation around sexual abuse.

'So this judgement is surprising given that such an act could be witnessed by children as well as adults' she said.

Public Masturbation Legal In Sweden

The case comes hot on the heels of a recent similar judgement, in which a 15-year-old boy was acquitted of sexual assault after he threw his underwear into a lake and stood naked in front of two underage girls.

Both girls had requested the boy be charged with molestation, but the Södertörn District Court ruled that his behaviour was not of a sexual nature so the charge was dismissed, according to The Local.

In the UK anyone who masturbates in public or exposes themself in any way faces an indecent exposure charge.

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