Wednesday, December 23, 2020

A Danish decision on abuse of office by a senior officer

A few months ago, the High Court of Western Denmark handed down its decision in an important and interesting case. Here is the court's press release (Google translation):
Judgment on abuse of office in the Armed Forces, V.L. S-1064-20
On 24 August 2020, the High Court ruled in an appeal case in which a senior officer in the Armed Forces was charged with, among other things, to have abused his position, for breach of duty of a gross and particularly gross nature and for breach of his duty of secrecy.
The High Court sentenced the accused to 3 months in prison.
By judgment of 19 May 2020 from the Court in Viborg, the accused officer was essentially found guilty of the charge and sentenced to unconditional imprisonment for 60 days. Defendant had pleaded not guilty and appealed the verdict for acquittal.
The High Court found that the defendant was guilty of having tried to abuse his position to get his then-girlfriend and later spouse admitted to a highly coveted leadership training within the Armed Forces. He was also found guilty of attempting to abuse his position by trying to persuade a colonel to hire his girlfriend in a vacant position as a major. In addition, the defendant was found guilty of gross negligence and breach of his duty of confidentiality by giving the girlfriend access to the inbox of the defendant's official e-mail and by forwarding emails of a confidential nature to her on matters that did not concern her.
The High Court, like the City Court, acquitted the accused of having spoken untruthfully in connection with the Chief of Defense's questions to him about the case. In addition, the district court acquitted the defendant of gross negligence by asking his secretary and staff assistant to print and cut some cards for use in his and his girlfriend's wedding. The High Court stated in this regard that there was no negligence of such a seriousness that it was punishable under section 27(1) of the Military Penal Code.
In sentencing, the High Court emphasized the seriousness of the circumstances, which had been committed over a period of 3 years, and the very significant position that the defendant had as a senior commander in the Armed Forces.
Inquiries regarding the case can be made to press contact judge Lisbeth Parbo, tel. 30 29 31 39.
A printout of the decision can be ordered per. mail to The printout costs DKK 175. The amount must be transferred to the High Court's bank account no. 0216-4069134874 with reference to the case number. When the amount is received, the printout will be processed.
Note that the High Court increased the officer's jail sentence from two to three months.

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