The Södertörn District Court in Eastern Sweden has ruled it OK to masturbate in public after it acquitted a 65-year old man for giving himself a sandy handy at a beach in Stockholm over the summer.
Sweden’s English language news website The Local reported that the court said no offense had been committed as the masturbating man was not pleasuring himself toward a specific person.
Public prosecutor Olof Vrethammar said he wouldn’t appeal the decision.
“For this to be a criminal offence it’s required that the sexual molestation was directed towards one or more people. I think the court’s judgement is reasonable,” he said, according to The Local.
“The district court has made a judgement on this case,” he added. “With that we can conclude that it is OK to masturbate on the beach. The act may be considered to be disorderly conduct.”
Dr. Liz Davies of London Metropolitan University, who has researched Sweden’s child protection system said the decision surprised her.
“Sweden has a really robust child protection system and very rigorous investigation around sexual abuse,” she said. “So this judgement is surprising given that such an act could be witnessed by children as well as adults.”