Husband acquitted of attempted murder

A Swiss receives a prison sentence for rape, physical harm, threats and coercion. However, the district court in Hinwil acquitted him of the charge of attempting to kill his wife.

The contact ban was imposed on the man after he is said to have beaten and raped his wife in the family home.

Maurizio Gambarini / DPA

On March 27, 2021, cantonal police officers in the Zurich Oberland were called to an operation because of domestic violence. There, an injured, bleeding wife just managed to open the front door for them. Her husband, who was actually separated from her and who had a rayon and contact ban, pushed her aside, whereupon she remained crouching in a corner. The man held a knife to his neck and approached the police with it. Suddenly he turned to his wife, took a step towards her and stabbed her with the knife – according to the indictment – ​​“from above, aimed and violently in the direction of her upper body and neck area”.

At that moment, two of the four officers present fired their tasers. The husband fell backwards onto the floor. When the taser wore off after a few seconds, the man slashed his own neck with the knife. He got up, the wound bleeding profusely, approached the police again with his knife raised and told them to kill him. The police officers continued to use their tasers several times to fix the man who was struggling vigorously.

He was still able to tear himself away and get up again. Only after minutes of wrangling did the police manage to handcuff the “blood-soaked” man and bring him under control. They immediately began to provide first aid and were able to save his life. It turned out that he hadn’t hit his wife with the knife. She had no cuts, but numerous other injuries from previous beatings.

Raped in bed next to sleeping daughters

The contact ban was imposed on the man after he is said to have beaten and raped his wife in the family home on December 20, 2020. According to the indictment, the argument broke out because the woman had expressed a desire to separate from him. He said he would break her, slapped her face bloody, and engaged in sexual intercourse with her while two little daughters also slept in the marriage bed.

The fact that the woman did not wake up the daughters is interpreted by the public prosecutor and the defense attorney at the trial with different arguments: the defense attorney explains that the woman could have woken up the daughters at any time, then the man would have stopped immediately. This proves that the sex was consensual. The prosecutor argues that the woman did not wake the daughters out of consideration, so as not to traumatize them. They were 3 and 4 years old.

After this incident, the accused was held in custody until mid-January 2021. On March 27, around 6:30 a.m., he went back to the home. The woman just managed to send a colleague who had stayed with her to the balcony so that he could leave the apartment in this way. She opened the door. Her husband immediately broke her nose with a well-aimed punch. He saw his colleague’s car and asked his wife to call him and tell him to come back. During the subsequent call, the woman used an agreed emergency word, so that the colleague notified the police.

The husband got a knife in the kitchen and continued to beat and threaten the woman. In the meantime, in an unobserved moment, she managed to escape from the garage. However, the husband quickly caught up with her and repeatedly slapped her in the face, causing her head to bang against the wall of a block of flats at the back. No sooner had he dragged the woman back into the apartment than the police showed up.

Partial confession and memory gaps

The 36-year-old accused admitted to beatings in his questioning before the court, but denied the rape. The wife did not resist. He would have noticed if she hadn’t wanted to, he explains. He said he would break it, but he didn’t mean it. In a fight you always say things you don’t mean. The woman is also questioned again in detail during the trial and tells her that the man hit her in the eye at the beginning, that the sex was clearly against her will, but that she allowed it because she didn’t want to receive any more beatings.

The 36-year-old Swiss also confessed at the beginning of the events on March morning. He went into the apartment “to make a clean sweep”. Also because of the daughters. He loves this more than anything. He was fed up with being constantly lied to by his wife and wanted to talk to her new boyfriend.

He says that if the police hadn’t come, he would have committed suicide. He does not comment on the police operation in detail. He was scared to death. Suddenly had a blackout and can’t remember. But he never made a targeted stabbing movement against his wife with a knife.

The prosecutor is asking for a prison sentence of 8 years 4 months for attempted murder and other crimes. He grants the accused a significant reduction in the sentence because the court expert had attested to an adjustment disorder and a moderately reduced level of criminal responsibility. But it was pure coincidence that the woman was still able to make statements, she could just as well be dead today. The police officers had nerves of steel and within fractions of a second decided to use a taser and not to use a firearm.

Defense attorneys seek acquittals of homicide and rape and only convictions for minor assault and a traffic offense. He describes the alleged rape as “reconciliation sex” after an argument. And in the incident in March, the accused must have been completely incompetent. The psychiatric report was inadequate. If the husband had actually wanted to do something to his wife with the knife, he could have done so long before the police arrived.

In case of doubt for the accused

Two weeks after the hearing, the district court in Hinwil issued its verdict: the accused was acquitted of the charge of attempted murder. He was sentenced to 40 months in prison, a conditional fine of 27 daily rates and a fine of CHF 300 for rape, multiple simple bodily harm, multiple threats, multiple coercion, multiple violence and threats against authorities and officials and driving while unable to drive. He has already served 444 days. He remains in custody.

The court sees the offense of rape as fulfilled and judges the incident in March as “actual torture”. The woman did not think she would survive because her husband was so unpredictable. It was based on the statements of the police officers that he made a move against his wife with a knife in his hand. However, there are insurmountable doubts about the legal qualification of this movement as attempted killing. It was not clear at what distance he was standing from the woman and what he was aiming for. The woman is awarded compensation of 15,000 francs and 10,700 francs in damages

Judgment DG210025 of May 17, 2022, not yet final.

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