This book has two aims: to describe techniques for the analysis of legal evidence, which are valid and independent of specific features of the investigator; and to apply these techniques to the Södertälje case, which has hitherto neither been subjected to a logical nor a critical analysis. All pre-trial information, inter alia 40 police interrogations of the injured party ("Elvira"), was scanned into one single document of 245,000 words. The following cardinal results were obtained:

(1) The foster mother knows literally every event Elvira "had experienced" several months before Elvira knows and confirms them. This pattern proves that the foster mother is the person who had fabricated and indoctrinated the assaults.

(2) The number of assaults may be around 250. Elvira has given concrete descriptions of only 12. This is important because Elvira claimed that her two-year-younger sister was an eyewitness of 11 of the 12 concrete assaults. At 7 concrete assaults there were additional eyewitnesses. – All alleged eyewitnesses deny that they have seen or experienced any indecent behaviour.

(3) When the five judges of the court of appeal presented their justifications for the verdict on pp. 42 and 44 of the written judgment, they had grossly false recollections of both the mothers testimony in the very same court, and of their own account of the latter on p. 22 of the same judgement. As a result they succeeded in convicting the father of a large number of assaults of which Elvira had never accused him.

(4) During the three months that preceded the first police interrogation, four meetings occurred. At each meeting Elvira absolutely denied having any recollection of sexual abuse. She denied the same thing during the first police interrogation. But here she was also absolutely sure that no assault had occurred during the last 5½ years. (Her psychotherapist confirmed that Elvira did not recount any concrete events until after the first police interrogation.)

No trace of the crimes for which the father was convicted can be found in any of the first four police interrogations.

Twenty-seven judges found the father guilty. None of them detected the cardinal facts.

Many other important results were obtained, and some other cases were also studied. Further topics discussed are the judges responsibility for false verdicts, and how such mistakes can be avoided.

Copyright Max Scharnberg

Keywords: Sexual abuse, textual analysis, witness psychology, legal evidence, statement validity assessment, sham evidence, ritual abuse, child murder, false memory syndrome, recovered memory therapy, false evidence, perjury, expert witness, computer analysis, false allegation, temporal relation, posttraumatic stress disorder, Snow-White syndrome, case study, Södertälje-case

Next chapter

Translation to swedish >>>

Uppdaterad: 2009-11-19