Teen murder case opens behind closed doors

The trial of two teenagers charged with the murder of a 15-year-old girl in the Stockholm suburb of Stureby in June began on Wednesday. The trial is set to proceed behind closed doors, after a court decision.

Teen murder case opens behind closed doors

The judge, Paul Arnell, explained that he had carefully considered keeping the hearing open but decided on balance against it.

“The ages of the accused and the sensitivity of the case were decisive,” he explained.

Before the trial began the 16-year-old female defendant’s lawyer Jan Karlsson said that he planned to ask for a closed trial.

“After extensive consultation and dialogue with the parties involved I have reached a decision that closed doors would be for the best,” Karlsson told news agency TT.

He considered that juvenile law was clear on the issue of public access to the courts – if it is of obvious inconvenience for the young people then the hearings can be closed to the general public.

“But there is scope for the judge to keep the trial partially open.”

In June, the 15-year-old girl was found in a wooded area in Stureby by two friends shortly before 1am on a Saturday night. Seriously wounded at the time, the girl was taken to hospital where she later died from her injuries. She had been at a party with friends celebrating her ninth grade graduation.

Several hours later, the two 16-year-olds were arrested on suspicions of murder. Jealousy has been cited as the motive for the crime.

The boy has pleaded guilty to manslaughter but denies the charges of murder while the girl denies the charges of incitement.

The girl is charged with having persuaded the boy to carry out the deed and threatened to end their relationship if he did not kill the 15-year-old.

The boy, through his counsel Claes Borgström has admitted to carrying out the killing but denies murder, pleading instead guilty to manslaughter.

The case has generated a massive amount of interest in the Swedish media and general public and will continue for several days in Södertörn district court.

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Germany’s youth ‘have lost their sense of fun’, study finds

Whereas previous generations were influenced by punk, techno and other subcultures, the modern German teenager is already dreaming of settling down in the suburbs, according to researchers.

Germany's youth 'have lost their sense of fun', study finds
Two teen skateboarders in Dresden in April 2018. Photo: DPA

The researchers behind the Sinus-Youth Study 2020 noted that “health is an ever more important issue” for German teens.

“Glamour, fun or the fulfilment of consumer desires play a less important role in the lives of participants than they did a few years ago” the study found.

“Instead, 'normal' goals like finishing school, the maintaining friendships and spending time with family seem to be important.

READ ALSO: German teenagers drinking less alcohol: Study

The researchers conducted repeat interviews with 72 teenagers. While the results cannot be considered representative, the depth of the study is unparalleled in German youth research.

Unlike their parents’ generation, the youth of today no longer sees pop stars like David Bowie as their inspiration. “They are much more likely to name someone who they know personally as a major influence.”

Sub-cultures are disappearing, the study notes, as ever more youth aspire to a “mainstream” life built around family, children and a solid but unspectacular job.

Although the 600-page report concludes that “somewhere along the line the concept of fun seems to have been lost,” the word Spaß (fun) is mentioned throughout.

But whereas Spaß once meant hedonism or rebellion, these days it is “Spaß am Lernen” (fun in learning) and “Spaß an der Arbeit” (fun at work) that are the top priorities for many kids.

“Teenagers have an ever more serious and realistic view of the world and its problems,” the study says. “They are concerned – even afraid.”

Top on the list of Weltschmerzen that the German youth are feeling is fear over climate change. They feel that their point of view is not taking seriously enough by older generations, who they see as doing too little to tackle the issue.

“The zeitgeist among teens is both green and conservative,” the study says.

Concerns were also raised among participants about migration and the polarising debate around it.

Many have a nuanced view of this issue, and are more likely to point out positives and negatives than those interviewed for the last study in 2016.

At the same time they fear a rise in hate speech. The ideals of solidarity, and self-sacrifice and modesty were mentioned prominently by participants.

READ ALSO: 2016 German teens just want to be mainstream