Jóhanna Sigurjónsdóttir, a lawyer for two young women who recently accused two men for rape in an apartment in Reykjavík, intends to charge the lawyer for one of the suspects for leaking confidential information, RÚV reports. She fears detailed media coverage regarding her clients’ charges could hurt the case and its investigation.
On the front page of Fréttablaðið today, there is a reference to a statement given by one of the women to police. Jóhanna claims that public discussion of sexual assault cases is hard for the victims. Detailed descriptions were published, be they right or wrong. Such reports could possibly influence witnesses, who have yet to give statements to police, and could thereby spoil the investigation.
She doesn’t remember a news medium ever before obtaining a copy of a victim’s statement while investigation is still underway. Therefore, she asks whether a victim who reports sexual assault can expect the defendant’s lawyer to share information from the statement to the news media:
“In my opinion, there is no doubt that my colleague Vilhjálmur [H. Vilhjálmsson, defense lawyer in the case] has violated his professional duties, and then he has, among other things, violated provisions of the criminal code, and violated provisions of laws regarding the proceedings in criminal cases, as well as broken laws regarding lawyers, and of course regarding the code on the ethics of lawyers.”