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Sunday, April 2, 2023

“I am quite sure when I see the joy of certain judges that innocent people are tried”


“False accusations happen. Usually people don’t blame people wrongly, but it does happen. That’s why it’s a very serious matter if someone accuses someone else and only the opinion public says believe it,” says lawyer Einar Gautur Steingrímsson. Einar, who has worked as a lawyer for 35 years, does not trust all judges to deliver the right verdicts in criminal cases and wants to see the introduction of jury trials in Iceland.

This is stated in Frosta Logason’s interview with Einar Gaut in the podcast Breakdown.

“Although there are word for word and no other witnesses to a crime, the circumstances are such that there is no reasonable doubt as to guilt. In Iceland there is a rule called free evaluation of evidence , and it implies that there is no special legal procedure, that if there is simply no reasonable doubt about guilt, then people should be found guilty. a crime takes place when there are only two people to tell the story, but it is still proven that there is no reasonable doubt that it was committed”, continues Einar Gautur. However, he points out that he has seen verdicts where the judge obviously has no idea if a person is guilty or innocent, and yet the person is convicted.

Einar Gautur is unequivocal: “I am quite sure when I see the arrogance of some judges that innocent people are judged. I am absolutely convinced of this. If someone gets used to always driving at a speed of 150 km/h, he will get out of it at some point. The apathy that I sometimes see in the courts is such that it worries me.”

Einar Gautur does not trust the courts in criminal cases and therefore he wants a jury. Admittedly, the small size of the community is a certain barrier in the way, but on the other hand, it is normal for people who constitute a cross section of society to pronounce the guilt of the accused and not only people with legal training.

“It’s so bad in the hands of the judges, they’re such bad people. They even convict people in cases I know where I’m convinced otherwise.”

Einar Gautur says he can report such judgments, but he has no plans to do so now. “I don’t trust the courts with this power. I’ve been a lawyer for 35 years and that’s my conclusion.”

Einar Gautur says other lawyers agree with him, but few are as competent as he is. “I do not censor myself and am not complicit in this problem.”

Einar Gautur says that most judges want to do their job well and do the right thing, but it is also possible to calm down, public opinion affects people unconsciously. He says it is a very big problem in the Icelandic legal system that the reasoning for judgments is sometimes below the surface. “The law says they must be motivated, but when you read the judgments, you sometimes have the impression that the decision is justified and not argued.”

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