Swedish police attacked over 'pirate' teen arrest

The Swedish Pirate Party has condemned authorities in the country after a teenager arrested for illegal file-sharing following a tip-off by his school was freed by a court.

The 15 year old was collared by Swedish police after his headmaster discovered downloaded films and file-sharing software on his computer, having identified the boy's machine as the source of a virus outbreak at the school.

The boy admitted downloading the films, saying he was unaware that it was illegal to do so. But in a somewhat inexplicable overreaction, he was charged with a criminal instead of a civil offence. The boy is believed to be the youngest person ever to stand trial for file-sharing offences in a Swedish court.

A split among the magistrates hearing the case yesterday at Gothenburg District Court has now resulted in the boy's acquittal, just a few days down the line. The case was heard by a professional judge and three "lay" magistrates - two of whom voted against.

The chief prosecutor in the case, Fredrik Ingblad, condemned the judges' decision and promises to appeal:

"I can't do anything other than appeal. This is an absurd ruling, quite simply," Inglblad told the TT news agency.

In a statement, Pirate Party leader Anna Troberg said: "I can only imagine how it must feel to be a 15-year-old who is dragged into court for doing one of the greatest things one can do, sharing culture."

The news comes hot on the heels of the launch by the founders of notorious file-sharing site The Pirate Bay of a new, legitimate site, BayFiles.

In November last year, the three were convicted of aiding piracy and sentenced to jail terms. Fredrik Neij received ten months, Peter Sunde eight months, and Carl Lundström four months.