Man beats smuggling rap because he 'drinks a lot'
Published: 3 May 12 10:39 CET
A man who was caught taking thousands of litres of beer and other alcoholic beverages into Sweden has been acquitted of smuggling charges after a court ruled it's plausible the man simply "drinks a lot".
The 23-year-old man was stopped in October 2011 after entering the town of Helsingborg on Sweden's west coast.
Customs officers duly discovered what they considered to be an extraordinary stash of alcoholic beverages, despite the man's claims that the booze was meant purely for personal consumption.
Officers' suspicions were further aroused when the man refused to tell them exactly how much drink he had on board.
While he first claimed to have 40 crates of beer, it turned out he was actually carrying 340 crates, the Metro newspaper reported.
A more thorough probe revealed that altogether, the man was transporting 2,357 litres of beer, 158 litres of pre-mixed drinks, 12 litres of wine, and 15 litres of spirits.
The man was subsequently charged and put on trial on suspicions of illegal alcohol smuggling.
However, the Helsingborg District Court ruled that it wasn't inconceivable that the man's entire cargo of booze and beer was meant for personal consumption, rather than for sale on the black market.
In detailed calculations, the court reasoned that the man, his father, and other relatives could plausibly consume all the beer within a year if they drank 1.3 litres every weekday.
In acquitting the 23-year-old, the court referenced a recent Supreme Court (Högsta domstolen) ruling which found that transporting huge amounts of alcohol across the border into Sweden doesn't necessarily indicate the beverages are meant to be sold illegally.
Rather other factors, including how much alcohol the person in question consumes, must also be taken into consideration.
The court thus found that, due to the 23-year-old's "high alcohol consumption", he should be acquitted of the smuggling charges against him.
In addition, the man was also allowed to reclaim the entire load of alcoholic beverages following the ruling.
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