In Sweden can information illegally acquired by an unconnected person be used in the prosecution of crimes?

Say a person stole a laptop, found evidence of illegal activity on it and gave it to the authorities saying he stole it. Could it be used against the owner?

Further are there any special classes of information that change the answer? Like say medical or financial data, child porn or terrorism.

1 Answer 1


It most likely can be used (there is no "fruit of the poisonous tree" doctrine). Drawing on this analysis (I can't locate Nytt juridiskt arkiv 1986 online). (Rättegångsbalken, SFS 1942:740) Chapter 35 Section 1 (35 Kap.) allows free "sifting, submission, evaluation" of evidence. Evidence can be rejected as insignificant. Specifically (following the analysis paper),

The Swedish legal system does not prescribe that it is forbidden to present an item of evidence which the party has got hold of while breaking the law. Neither is the court prevented from ascribing such a proof a great value.

In one instance, blood was illegally drawn (only a doctor or registered nurse may legally draw blood). The Supreme Court ruled that

The fact that the blood sample was drawn by a laboratory
assistant does not imply such a divergence from the Code of Judicial Procedure that it can be seen as a violation of the Instrument of Government Chapter 2 Section 6. Neither has any of the Swedish fundamental principle of law been set aside in a way that prevents the submission of the blood sample.

"Surplus information" obtained by coercive means can also be used as evidence (i.e. information obtained incidentally, not related to the crime in question). Some limitations seem to have been recently imposed, taking the form on tightening warrant requirements and data retention.

  • Yes, it is called "fri bevisprövning". The court values all presented evidence, independently of how it is "produced".
    – d-b
    Jan 6, 2019 at 1:39

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