An application to examine the forensic pathologist Jovan Rajs
The forensic pathologist Jovan Rajs has for several years worked consistently to cast suspicion on his previous working companion and pupil Teet Härm and to get him charged for murder together with his doctor colleague Thomas Allgén. Both the doctors have summarized their criticism of Rajs in the following application to the National Board of Forensic Medicine, Sweden’s highest authority in the area of forensic medicine.
The National Board of Forensic Medicine
Generaldirektör Ulf Westerberg
111 20 Stockholm
Application to examine two forensic opinions (The Government Institute for Forensic Medicine in Stockholm no. F 3726/1986 and F 4032/87) issued by the medical legal expert Jovan Rajs and of the same medical legal expert’s actions during the investigation concerning the case of Catrine da Costa.
The undersigned Thomas Allgén and Teet Härm petition herewith that the National Board of Forensic Medicine (NBFM) organise a forensic quality analysis of the named forensic opinions in accordance with what is cited foremost in points 2-3 and 8-11 below.
With reference to points 3-7, 12, 14-18 and 22 we request also that the NBFM decide whether the medical legal expert Jovan Rajs has observed the professional ethical rules, that ought to apply to a doctor operating within the Swedish forensic medicine. There are especially two aspects that we believe NBFM has cause to consider. The first one concerns the question of whether a forensic expert, who has submitted a post-mortem opinion in a suspected murder case, should be an active driving force in the subsequent public investigation against an alleged offender, especially when the suspect is a subordinate colleague. The other aspect relates to the forensic expert’s collaboration with the media and his participation in the media debate in a specific legal case where the medical legal expert took part as an expert and in the ongoing debate described the alleged perpetrators guilty, despite the fact that in the trials they were declared innocent of the suspected murder.
Finally we wish with reference especially to points 4-5, 12-18, 20 and 22 to receive an answer to the question which authority has the ultimate responsibility to see that a private person’s basic legal rights are not set aside, when a forensic expert in his work shows significant signs of losing all professional objectivity but instead acts from an inner conception.
1. For observation we attach herewith the petition for review in the case of Catrine da Costa (the so called cutting-up case), that was submitted a while ago to the Swedish Supreme Administrative Court by Professor Emeritus Anders Agell of Uppsala University, who has himself initiated an examination of the case and has offered to be our attorney.
In the petition for review there are shown to exist new circumstances that without doubt would have revealed another way of looking at the question of guilt by the courts had they been known at the time of the trials against us. We have both, individually and independently of each other, from the start declared ourselves totally innocent of the charges brought against us. The circumstances that are now submitted show that we have not only been judged on incorrect grounds but it is also obvious that the stated forensic opinions, that played such an important part in the judicial judgements, are neither compatible with the forensic qualitative criteria required nor with reasonable demands for the legal rights of an individual.
That even Jovan Rajs’s post-mortem opinion in the cutting-up case is not acceptable has already been assessed by the examination carried out by the National Social Welfare Board’s judicial council in 1988, at the request of the Stockholm County Court. Also the forensic experts professor Klaus Püschel (Hamburg) and professor Jörn Simonsen (Copenhagen), who individually examined the post-mortem opinion found it not acceptable.
Whilst it is true that the stated opinions were given prior to the creation of the NBFM, they still have relevance to the petition for a new trial. We have noted that the NBFM in it’s general official description emphasises ”high quality and the individuals legal rights” as an obvious goal for the organisations actions. It is also known that the board in certain cases has done – and does judge on the initiative of the individual. We request now that the NBFM examines the above-mentioned opinion using the high quality criteria that applies for its forensic activities.
Such an examination is our only practical chance of an objective judgement of the two opinions, which for us has had a decisive importance and influence over our lives and has caused the mass media and the general public to believe that we are guilty of a cutting-up murder.
The National Social Welfare Board’s judicial council, which was never given the chance to review these opinions, does not react on the request of individual private persons as is well known. From the point of view of individual citizens it is necessary that some party within the judicial system adopts responsibility for the judgement of questionable forensic opinions, since incorrect or unscientific opinions would otherwise never be questioned or put right. The National Board of Forensic Medicine is probably in practice the only authority that in this case can carry out such an expert quality scrutiny.
2. The first opinion (d:no. F 3726/ 1986) by the medical legal expert Jovan Rajs concerns a comparison between on the one side, a number of asserted statements of mine (Allgén’s) daughter, when she was about two and a half years old, and on the other side a number of post-mortem findings in several cases of cutting-up murders, including the da Costa case. According to forensic expert Jovan Rajs’s opinion the comparison between what the child was asserted to have said agreed well with the way Catrine da Costa’s body had been cut up. The stated opinion therefore strengthened the credibility of the child psychiatric examination, which was of the probability that the child of one and a half years of age in the presence of her father witnessed the cutting-up of a female body.
”The child’s story” was quite frankly the main evidence, when we were wrongly charged of the murder and later accused by the County Court in Stockholm of cutting-up the dead body, even though we had been freed from the accusation of murder. As is shown from the petition for review it is now clear that my (Allgén’s) daughter was by no means present at the asserted incident, which had never happened.
The other opinion (d:no. F 4032/87) also made by Jovan Rajs emanates in a similar way from verbal statements and schematic markings on a form with an outline of a human body, which was arrived at in police interrogations with a married couple who owned a photo shop. The couple contacted the police in the autumn of 1987, after the evening papers had published that the police suspected it was possible photographs of the cutting-up of Catrine da Costa’s body three years earlier could have been taken.
The forensic expert Rajs has compared the post-mortem findings in the da Costa case with
the photo shop couple’s recollection of the processing of a film roll from around that time and the observations they said they made in connection with that. As is known no such photographs have ever been found (apart from the photos taken by the police obviously and the Institute for Forensic Medicine’s own photographs from the post-mortem).
According to Rajs’s opinion several similarities between the photo shop couple’s recollections and that of the post mortem findings of the da Costa case could be seen. The opinion has influenced the Court’s judgement of the credibility of the photo shop couple’s witness information and the probability that the asserted pictures had been those of Catrine da Costa’s dead body.
3. Not until several years after completion of the trials against us has information from the police examination come to light. From this it cannot be said that Jovan Rajs’s involvement in the police examination and his subsequent opinions had been arrived at in an objective manner and from a strict forensic expert consideration. Quite contrarily there may be observed a tendentious attitude that has been used to strengthen the insufficient circumstantial evidence made against us and thereby increase the possibilities for a conviction in the murder charge.
As one of the causes of this lack of objectivity the working relationship between Rajs and the undersigned Teet Härm stands out, a relationship that is marked by our close contact at my work and the situation that in work with my doctor’s thesis I had Rajs as a tutor. From a taped police interrogation during the autumn of 1984, in which the police inspector Allan Bäckström speaks to Rajs’s wife Dina Rajs, it is clear that the married couple Rajs felt very worried that Jovan Rajs’s academic career could be damaged due to the circumstances that he had a close contact with a colleague suspected of murder.
To further underline the invalidating position that this relation brought about, and Rajs’s personal engagement in the murder investigation against his previous colleague and candidate for a doctorate, it is necessary to recapitulate what is now known concerning Jovan Rajs’s various roles in the cutting-up case.
We would like to emphasise that the statements, that we make in the following, are extracted from verifiable material in the police investigation of the cutting-up case that commenced during the summer of 1984 and was more or less completed seven years later in 1991. Some of the information has also been obtained from the book that Jovan Rajs, together with the writer Kristina Hjertén, published in 2001 (”Ombud för de tystade” ”Voice for the Silenced”, Norstedt’s publishing house).
4. It was quite by chance (the emergency duties roster at the Institute for Forensic Medicine) that Jovan Rajs became responsible for the forensic examination of Catrine da Costa’s remains, when these were found in the summer of 1984. From the information that Rajs gave in the beginning to the police he was of the opinion that a saw had been used to cut-up the body and that the perpetrator could have knowledge of cutting-up, as in the case of a butcher. Rajs visited together with police investigators a slaughterhouse to examine the method used for cutting-up animals.
When I (Härm) in August 1984 was reported by my former father-in-law as the probable murderer of my wife two years earlier and also possibly guilty to the cutting-up of Catrine da Costa, the police concentrated their preliminary investigations on me. Jovan Rajs was informed relatively late in the autumn of the police’s suspicion, and not until after other colleagues at the Institute had made vows of secrecy did the police tell him about an ongoing investigation of his candidate for a doctorate (Härm).
That Jovan Rajs became furious over the circumstances that he had not been told of information regarding the preliminary investigation, but that many of his colleagues at the Institute knew what went on, is something that Rajs returns to several times in his contacts with the policemen who were dealing with the investigation. It became clear that Rajs experienced this as a lack of trust from the police.
When Rajs was eventually informed in the middle of October 1984 of the police suspicion of me (Härm), he at first categorically rejected all thought of any belief that there could be reason for such suspicion. However, it did not take long before Rajs completely changed his position and instead began to search for evidence that I was really guilty to the murder and the cutting-up. When he telephoned from a holiday resort abroad to police assistant Lars Jonsson to give his latest theory on the case, he put forward his idea that I could have carried out the cutting-up with my fiancé at that time, who Rajs described as a qualified veterinary assistant.
Also this telephone conversation was taped and is in the hands of the police. Afterwards Rajs has tried to describe the telephone conversation as an attempt to exonerate his candidate for a doctorate from suspicion. (”Ombud för de tystade”, ”Voice for the Silenced” p.231. ”I rang up Lars Jonsson at the Division for Violent Crime from the hotel reception and put forward my idea. There is some hope for Teet.”). Even in other situations Jovan Rajs has tried to give the impression that he hoped that his own post mortem examination would clear me. The actual facts say something else.
5. When Rajs’s post mortem opinion was ready, a short time after his telephone conversation with police assistant Jonsson (in November 1984) there was no longer any reference to the original observations of sawing or connection to animal slaughter in his reasoning. Instead Rajs now maintained that the cutting-up was almost certainly the work of someone or some persons, who had general medical knowledge in surgery and orthopaedics also special knowledge in anatomy and pathology techniques in other words in practice directly pointing out me (Härm).
Based on Rajs’s opinion as grounds, I was arrested in the beginning of December 1984 and sat in custody for five days. At the same time the police supplied the mass media with information that depicted me as a probable sex murderer.
When it finally became known that the police had no evidence that I was guilty to either the murder or the cutting-up and I would therefore be let out of custody, Rajs informed the police that it would be impossible for him to remain in his position at the Institute for Forensic Medicine in Stockholm if I was to be reinstated in my post. In a police interrogation of Rajs some weeks after I had been released, Rajs developed a theory that I could be guilty to several other suspicious murders of women. He was dissatisfied that the police were forced to release his colleague and doctorate candidate: ”I think if you do not establish his guilt, then you might as well all go and hang yourselves” (police interrogation 8th. January 1985).
Probably the police’s systematic leakage of scandalous information about me to journalists and the desire to throw suspicion on me in connection with my first arrest, was aimed to make my reinstatement to my post impossible or more difficult. This was just in case the preliminary investigation should be discontinued through lack of evidence. In fact there were police officers who had at an early stage allowed themselves to be convinced that I was guilty. Also Rajs had threatened to resign from his post if I was not barred from the Institute.
Rajs’s participation in throwing suspicion on me resulted in creating a scenario that developed from the dialogue between the pathologist Rajs and the crime department’s inspector, where the Institute for Forensic Medicine’s premises appeared as the most likely scene of the crime simply because the person that was considered most suspicious happened to have access to that locality. If one continues that line of reasoning then it is logical to believe that the cutting-up took place during a weekend when the normal working activities did not take place.
Jovan Rajs assisted the police by finding out from the personnel whether anyone had noticed anything unusual in connection with a weekend that could be said to be related to the cutting-up scenario. Rajs himself then took on another role in the murder investigation by saying that he and his wife had seen me on the premises sometime towards the end of spring.
6. It is evident from a taped telephone interrogation with Rajs and his wife during the autumn of 1984 that they both first of all had a very vague idea as to when they believed that they had met me at the Institute during the spring of 1984. Notwithstanding this, they eventually became convinced that such a meeting must have taken place precisely during Whitsun, i.e. the weekend that the police believed that Catrine da Costa had been murdered. During the trials, which began nearly four years later, Rajs took on the double role (at the trials) of expert witness and eyewitness. The telephone interrogation of Rajs and his wife referred to above was never written out, which meant that important information was withheld from us and our defence lawyers concerning the considerable uncertainty that originally characterized the couple’s statement relating to Whitsun.
It can be said in parenthesis that both the undersigned Härm and Jovan Rajs regularly went to the Institute even during weekends to carry out observations concerning the research animals (rats), which were used in our common research project. It is also known from the police interrogation with Rajs, that Rajs had said to me that he himself would be going in to the Institute during Whitsun and therefore I did not have to bother to go in to my work place.
7. When I (Härm) eventually was allowed to leave the prison after my first arrest in December 1984 Rajs made several attempts to prevent my return to the Institute. He contacted the editors of the newspaper Dagens Nyheter and the journal Forensic Science International to see to that my name was taken away from articles that had been sent in before the arrest and where Rajs’s own name appeared.
He also summoned two policemen Lars Jonsson and Allan Bäckström from Stockholm’s Crime Division, to see that I was reported to the National Welfare Board for negligence concerning some forensic medicine investigations that I had previously carried out.
This police report against me was investigated on the National Welfare Board’s behalf by
judicial council member Professor Gerhard Voigt. He did not find any reason to question my handling of the reports, but Voigt pointed out in passing that Rajs himself had been responsible for one of the reported cases, therefore his criticism – if it had been justified in such a case should be directed at himself.
It is known that some of the pathologists at the Institute for Forensic Medicine in Stockholm were worried by Rajs’s attitude towards me. Already in December the head of the Institute Milan Valverius had written to the leader of the investigation inspector Inge Reneborg and suggested that the examination of the da Costa case should be handed over to a pathologist, who was in no way connected to me, preferably one from another Scandinavian country. Valerius also explained in the police interrogation that he did not accept the conclusions stated in the post mortem opinion by Rajs.
Valverius’s request that an independent pathologist should take over the investigation in the da Costa case did not lead to any action by the police or the prosecutor, possibly because the police felt that Jovan Rajs wholeheartedly conformed with the police line of work.
A description of pathologist Rajs’s subjective relation to the person, whom he single minded worked to obtain evidence against, is found in the book ”Ombud för de tystade” ”Voice for the Silenced”(p.231 f):
”For a time I was afraid that he, if he suspected that I could expose him, maybe might try and get rid of me, shoot or knife me in the back some dark autumn evening. But my fear soon left me. I understood that he did not bear any personal grudge against me; I was his respected teacher who he now wanted as his antagonist. He created this spectacle, without me no actors. He would rather have me alive than dead. So I recovered my calmness and was drawn into the play and the nightmares. And the only way to get through it all was to work so that the truth would be revealed”.
8. At the time when Teet Härm had first been arrested, I (Allgén) was charged by my wife of having sexually assaulted our two-year-old daughter. This charge was investigated several times by doctors, psychologists and police. I have consistently refuted that anything improper had occurred and have also been found innocent of any such actions by the County Court in 1988.
My wife however became absorbed in trying to give rise to a charge against me. After almost half a year of these fruitless exertions, she contacted the police and declared that our daughter (then 2 years and 8 months old) had now begun to say things, that my wife interpreted as the child had witnessed the cutting-up of Catrine da Costa.
The police now, under the strictest secrecy, set a child psychiatrist and a child psychologist, who were both previously engaged in the incest investigation and can therefore hardly be said to be unprejudiced, the task of examining my wife’s statements as to what our child was supposed to have said and if this really could indicate that I (Allgén) together with Teet Härm murdered and cut-up Catrine da Costa.
At the meeting, where the child psychiatrist and psychologist received their instructions from the police and prosecutor, Jovan Rajs also participated. When the investigation about what became to be called ” The Child’s Story” but which should correctly be called ”The Mother’s Story” finally was handed over to the police in the beginning of 1986, the police were strengthened in their belief that Teet Härm and I had both together committed the murder and the cutting-up of the body.
9. The child psychiatric investigation is shown today as having been carried out unscientifically and without any credibility. The final conclusions build upon the incomplete and distorted material (the mother’s verbal information to the police), which the investigators had not bothered to compare with the notes that the mother herself had made (i.e. about the child’s alleged original story). The child psychiatrist and psychologist had not listened to the taped material that the mother had made in consultation with the police of her talks with the child, at all, indeed they had not even known about it.
When the child did not fulfil the child psychologist’s expectations, i.e. with a photo showing that the child did not succeed in identifying Teet Härm, who according to the mother’s information should be the frightening figure of ”Uncle Tomt”, then the psychologist – as is shown from the taped witness interrogation in Stockholm’s County Court 1988 took the matter in her own hands and told the child that the person in the photo (Teet Härm) was exactly that man (Uncle Tomt) the child was supposed to have talked about to the mother. The psychologist was then considered to be able to observe that the child showed fear when looking at the photo of Teet Härm.
The conclusions of the child psychiatrist’s investigation is built upon a tendentious and partly distorted selection of the numerous assertions from the mother that have come forth during police interrogations and whose reliability today must stand as nonexistent. By request of the Administrative Court of Appeal in Stockholm, expert witness psychologists Hellbom and Holgerson carried out an investigation of the child’s alleged utterances (Witness psychological expert opinion, case nr. 3938-3939-1990, Administrative Court of Appeal in Stockholm). In their stated opinion both the expert witnesses repudiate categorically the conclusions in the child psychiatrist’s investigation.
Since Jovan Rajs was present at the initial briefing that the child psychiatrist and the child psychologist were given in connection with their commission in the autumn of 1985, there can be said that there is reason to believe that also the post mortem findings were aired on that occasion. No written documentation of what was discussed at that meeting was apparently made.
When later the child psychiatrist investigation was complete, pathologist Rajs made in his turn the above mentioned written opinion (F 3726/1986) concerning the evidence of the conclusions in this investigation i.e. the degree of agreement between on the one side the choice of statements from the child’s mother of what the child was alleged to have said that the child psychiatrist picked out from the very considerable interrogation material and on the other hand the findings from the post mortem. This forensic opinion (F3726/1986) is thus based on Rajs’s own subjective choice of statements that the child psychiatrist had already selected, a choice that in practice would fit in with suitable observations in his own post mortem opinion.
For such an opinion to be seen as fulfilling reasonable demands of factuality and objectivity, they should according to our view not only show the details that agree in both the sources (witness statements respectively the post mortem opinion), but also those details that do not agree, as well as those that cannot be judged, or shown. Further more the judgement should obviously not only encompass a prejudicial choice of the information, but all aspects that have been illuminated in all sources.
However in Jovan Rajs’s report such an analysis is reflected only by it’s absence. It is of great significance for our judicial rights and certainly also for the general credibility of Swedish Forensic Medicine that this opinion of Jovan Rajs and the conclusions that he presents are examined from objectively scientific criteria.
10. As a consequence of the murder of Prime Minister Olof Palme in the beginning of 1986, the investigation of the da Costa case was delayed for almost a year. When the public prosecutor took it up again in the beginning of 1987, the original investigators were discharged and other police personnel without previous experience of the case were directed to conclude the murder investigation.
That which was described as ”The Child’s Story” became now with the support of Jovan Rajs’s opinion the prosecutor’s strongest evidence against us. The undersigned Allgén was apprehended and arrested in October 1987, and the undersigned Härm some weeks later. In connection with the seizure of me (Härm) the child psychiatrist’s investigation was leaked to the newspaper Expressen, which also had a reporter and a photographer outside my house, when I was arrested.
11. In the enormous media turbulence that was created stories were spread such as that the police suspected that the cutting-up of Catrine da Costa’s body had been photographed. Amongst the many informants who reported things to the police were also the above named married photo shop couple. They said they had received one, perhaps several film rolls, for developing and copying from a male customer some years earlier, probably in the summer of 1984. The pictures were said to have represented a cut-up body. The personnel in the photo shop were said to have reacted strongly and became sick. The police asked the couple to obtain confirmation of this from their personnel, but they did not find anyone that could confirm or remember the event.
The witness confrontations during the autumn of 1987 that were carried out with the photo shop couple broke all criterion that exist for the rule of law. The course of action was dictated completely by the police with the obvious ambition to have us pointed out. The documentation of the identifying of us, which is now well known, shows that the police had used unlawful methods.
Pathologist Rajs assisted the police a short time after that with the other captioned opinion (above named F 4032/87), in which he compared imaginary ”pictures” (i.e. fantasy pictures from memory of the asserted photographs, that had come out in the interrogation of the photo shop couple, with the lines drawn by the couple on a form showing an outline of a human body) with his own observations three years earlier in the post mortem opinion concerning Catrine da Costa.
Also this opinion is marked with the obvious ambition to strengthen the evidence against us, using loose speculation without any scientific ground. Jovan Rajs clearly refrains from reporting any facts which do not agree with the hypothesis the police have or that shows unclearness in the examined material.
It is obvious that the opinion has been created for one reason only: to strengthen the belief that a film roll purporting to represent Catrine da Costa’s cut-up body in fact had been left for development at the photo shop in Solna and that the photo shop couple had in fact seen these pictures.
For the same reason as has earlier been named, we request that even this opinion be examined using criteria that ought to be valid for all forensic medical opinions within the framework of the NBFM.
12. During the following prosecutions the pathologist Rajs began to play a key role in his double function as expert witness and also eyewitness. To support his understanding that Catrine da Costa was the object of a sex murder and that the body was then cut-up by medically educated and necrotomy knowledgeable offender/s, Rajs urged among other things, the study of characteristics of various types of cutting-up murders (such as so-called offensive respective defensive cutting-up) which were published by the German Professor Klaus Püschel and his colleague Erwin Koops.
Afterwards it has been known that Rajs also turned directly to Professor Püschel and presented his post-mortem findings in the da Costa case in the hope that he would obtain support for his conclusions from this authority.
Professor Püschel’s response to Rajs shows that Püschel for his part would not have drawn such conclusions of the post-mortem findings, as Rajs had done. He would not as Rajs did have said that it absolutely was about a murder. Nor would he have – as Rajs did maintained that the body had been cut-up by some doctor or butcher. The response from Klaus Püschel was in reality formulated as a warning to Rajs.
The pathologist should not be tempted to draw such conclusions that only the court is justified to draw, when all the circumstances in the case can be weighed against each other, Püschel pointed out. The pathologist’s role should be limited to strict pathologically based judgements and conclusions.
Despite Püschel’s repudiation, Rajs continued to refer to Püschel’s study of cutting-up murders as a support for his own speculative conclusions, as if they had been confirmed by international pathological research. We consider that there is reason to question whether Rajs by his conduct broke the oath that he had made to the Court.
13. That Rajs tried to obtain support for his speculations with an international authority was due to the fact that his post-mortem opinion in the da Costa case was earlier, on the request by the County Court, examined by the National Social Welfare Board’s Judicial Council, who in all important points distanced itself from Rajs’s judgements.
According to Rajs this was not due to any doubt about his opinion, but that the three pathologists in the council wished to damage him personally:
”Colleagues from the Judicial Council wish to destroy me as a medical expert. Perhaps I can be thought of as paranoid when suggesting this, but I do not care about that. I cannot interpret it in any other way than that they are willing to sacrifice the rule of law in the desire to get rid of me.” (Quote from ”Ombud för de tystade”, ”Voice for the Silenced.” p249-250).
According to Rajs’s own conception, his colleagues aversion to him personally regularly causes the Judicial Council to ”act in such a way as to result in a defence for the ones accused of murder,” (i.e. p.250). An important reason for the Judicial Council’s actions towards him, according to Rajs, was the fact that he was of Jewish descent and from East Europe (Serbia), while one of the Judicial Council’s most experienced pathologists was born in Germany. Rajs has told the prosecutor and others that this colleague is a Nazi and it is for this reason that by repudiating his opinions this colleague persecutes him.
14. According to what Rajs’s co-author Kristina Hjertén has told us, Rajs has also spread rumours that Teet Härm was a Nazi and a necrophiliac. This openness from Kristina Hjertén’s side can appear surprising, but this is related to a conflict between her and Jovan Rajs before their book was published in 2001, a conflict that is still unresolved.
15. It is probably known by the NBFM’s executive that one of the three pathologists in the Judicial Council that examined Rajs’s opinion in the da Costa case was later requested by Rajs to change his standpoint in a direction favourable for Rajs. If this was not done, Rajs threatened that he would use his own influence within the Swedish Forensic Medicine Association to sabotage his colleague’s attempts to stage an international forensic medical conference in Linköping. Rajs carried out this threat, which led to Rajs’s lack of being freed from responsibility at the following annual general meeting of the association.
16. The head of the Institute for Forensic Medicine Milan Valverius had at the start of the da Costa case tried to get Rajs replaced with another colleague who was not in any prejudiced position to myself (Härm). Rajs alleged later to the public prosecutor that Valverius had broken the law of secrecy in the case of the ”police investigation of the assassination of prime minister Olof Palme” and had leaked information on the post-mortem findings to a journalist of the Dagens Nyheter.
This accusation led to a police investigation against Valverius, who at that time became sick with cancer. Though Valverius was freed, the accusation was of course a huge insult and cast doubt on his professional integrity. Valverius never returned to work at the Institute after this.
17. We know that the conflicts within the medical forensic block, that have existed over a number of years concerning Jovan Rajs’s persona have been known to the Board of Forensic Medicine executive for a long time and earlier also to the National Social Welfare Board. Because this is known we do not see any reason to go further into this subject.
Meanwhile there is another aspect of Jovan Rajs’s actions, which has a high degree of relevance for our statement to the NBFM. This relates to Rajs’s personal contacts with journalists and debaters in the media, the way he has used these contacts for his own devices and for the two books that he has published. As a consequence of this he has taken on a third role, as creator of public opinion.
It would seem that these contacts grew during the period of disputes between Rajs and the Judicial Council, when the mass media pressure was very great with the attention around the trials against us in 1988.
18. The Judicial Council’s questioning of Rajs’s stated opinion in the da Costa case contributed, as we have understood it, considerably to the Court of Appeal’s decision, after six months period of arrest, of releasing us in March 1988. The Council’s standpoint seems to also have been an important reason in the prediction concerning the outcome of an eventual appeal of a conviction judgement in the County Court of the murder charge against us.
When during the spring of 1988 it seemed that the collapse of the legal case against us in the County Court would lead to that the case would be dropped, there commenced a campaign with strong feminist attachment to create a case for a new trial. The campaign was initiated by the prostitution investigator Hanna Olsson, who in the public debate portrayed the pathologist Rajs as a fearless man of truth, whereas his colleagues in the Judicial Council were described as corrupt and representing a patriarchal order of society, who were simply trying to defend two of their accused colleagues.
When Hanna Olsson began working on her book ”Catrine och rättvisan” (Catrine and Justice), and which came to create such public opinion that resulted in ourselves being seen as perverse murderers, Olsson wrote the forensic medical section in consultation with Rajs, who now saw his opportunity through Olsson to criticise his colleagues at the Judicial Council and at the same time put forward his own assertions of the post-mortem findings.
That his instructions to Olsson in relation to this was drawn up as a working document on the institute’s writing paper (journal number marked 6/90 and dated 21st February 1990) can be seen as strange. Evidently documents concerning the da Costa case have since disappeared in some unknown manner from the NBFM’s departmental archives. If therefore an archive copy of this document referred to above cannot be found, we can furnish the NBFM with a copy.
The contacts with Hanna Olsson made it possible for Rajs through a proxy to attack his noted opponents within the forensic medicine collective. He has later developed the same tactic with the TV journalist Janne Josefsson, when that journalist tried to find support for his first perception that the police severely mishandled a known violent drug abuser (Osmo Vallo) when they arrested him. The post-mortem investigation of the case could not show that the cause of death was due to police excess assault.
Jovan Rajs appeared in the Swedish Television’s programme ”Striptease” on the initiative of Josefsson and declared that the police handling of Vallo had most probably been the cause of Vallo’s death. After he had himself launched the suspicion of criminal infringement on television, Rajs was contacted by the Public Prosecutor and took upon himself the task to carry out a new post-mortem investigation of the case (the third of it’s kind), seconded by a colleague Jan Lindberg.
Rajs’s commitment in this criminal case and the strong criticism aimed at his colleagues, who had previously investigated the cause of death amongst them several of the pathologists who had questioned Rajs’s conclusions in the da Costa case strengthened his position as a person worthy to command attention in the public mass media.
In an interview by a feminist culture editor of the socialist democratic idea paper Arena (No.3/2000), Jovan Rajs declared that journalists who began to doubt our guilt in the da Costa case should be thought of as ”idiots”.
It appears that Rajs now functions as an advisor to journalists, who are suspicious that irregularities have been carried out in connection with post-mortem investigations. This is valid in the case of two journalists, who recently questioned a post-mortem judgment carried out by a German-born doctor working in the Stockholm area.
19. It is naturally quite legitimate for a pathologist to carry out post-mortem judgements to serve as a guide for investigating journalists. Likewise it is legitimate for a journalist to seek expert knowledge from experts in pathology, when for example, there exists suspicion that the authorities are trying to cover up previous mistakes or to classify doubtful investigations secret.
There is a risk however that there develops a symbiotic relationship, where the pathologist and journalist in practice use each other in such a way that justice is put in doubt.
If the pathologist feels that he is being persecuted and is doubted by colleagues, which the journalist in his turn questions, there is a danger that the apparent independent expert will in actual fact be guided by prejudiced opinions. The journalist on the other hand may be possessed by his own mission to expose injustice by the authorities and this unsatisfactory situation may give rise to the position, where he (or she) does not have sufficient distance to his (or her) own expert’s judgements or the criticism that he expresses.
20. The problem as far as we are concerned is acutely relevant. With support of Rajs and his previous pathologist colleague Olle Lindquist (now paid off from his service with the NBFM), the TV journalist Lars Borgnäs caught on to Jovan Rajs ideas that I (Härm) am a serial killer, who has not only murdered Catrine da Costa, but also my wife and several women prostitutes. These theories, that the police have not felt any reason to attach any truth to, have resulted in four programmes each an hour long in the Swedish TV programme ”Uppdrag granskning”, ”Mission Inquisition” during 2001-2002.
These theories have also recently been presented in the book ”Sanningen är en sällsynt gäst”, ”Truth is a rare guest,” (Norstedt’s 2003), where Lars Borgnäs has devoted a considerable amount of space to spread defamatory rumours about myself (Härm) and in practice about us both, as we are in the eyes of the public considered as brothers in crime.
If someone has as I (Härm) during 20 years been scandalised in the media and slandered by people, who are convinced that I must be a perverse perpetrator of an outrage, then it is probably not very difficult to gather all this defamation into a catalogue of alleged character failure. I am sure someone from my circle of friends or acquaintances who know me better could compose an equivalent list of positive judgements.
21. When the journalist Lars Borgnäs recently (27th November 2003) presented his book at the Akademibokhandeln (Academy book store) in Stockholm, also present was Jovan Rajs who earlier had appeared in the TV programme with Borgnäs.
There is an ongoing systematic campaign to cast suspicion on us and to try to make it impossible for us to obtain a new trial in the Swedish Supreme Administrative Court. The National Organisations on call for Women and Girls in Sweden have urged their 8000 members and sympathisers to write to the court and protest against our request for a new trial. At least one journalist plus our legal representative Professor Emeritus Anders Agell have been telephoned by a person, who asserted that I (Härm) am a psychopath and serial murderer. This is an official at the NBFM – chemist Gunilla Wetterling who in this way spreads the slander further. She states that she has been employed at her work place in Linköping for thirty years and this enables her to be able to guarantee that Jovan Rajs is a reliable pathologist.
22. It is our absolute belief that this course of events, which has had such catastrophic consequences for us both and for our nearest relatives, would never have occurred if the investigation had been carried out by a pathologist, who worked objectively and who worked within normal forensic medical considerations. But instead Jovan Rajs let his own personal motives and his subjective considerations characterise his engagement in the case. This created repercussions not only in the police investigation but also for the mass medial reflection of the case.
Easily aroused suspicions against colleagues and also towards individual policemen, who Rajs had come in conflict with, resulted very quickly in hateful accusations of the type for example that colleagues Professor Gerhard Voigt and Associate Professor Robert Grundin were exposed to. The portrait that Jovan Rajs gives of himself in his book (”Ombud för de tystade” ”Voice for the Silenced”) gives a picture of a person continually ready to defend himself against real or illusory questioning by those around him.
In the criticism of Rajs, which has been presented publicly by several of his pathologist colleagues (see Dagens Nyheter Debate 1st June 2001), one is warned for his basic approach in his judgements in pathology. Rajs stands out as an expert, who has already from the beginning drawn his conclusions of investigations that have as yet not been carried out, and therefore satisfies himself only with such facts that support his original convictions.
Precisely these serious weaknesses characterise, according to our understanding, the two opinions, that we now request to be examined by the National Board of Forensic Medicine.
With regard to the very special problems that have been shown above, a copy of this paper is being sent to two of the members of the Board of Forensic Medicine’s committee, namely Professor in Psychiatry Marie Åsberg and President of the Court of Appeal Gunnel Wennberg. Also the National Social Welfare Board and the Swedish Supreme Administrative Court will be sent a copy with reference to our petition request.
If any member from the Board of Forensic Medicine wishes to have copies of the attachments to our petition we are willing to supply copies of these.
Stockholm 18th December 2003.
Attached: Petition for a new trial to the Swedish Supreme Administrative Court together with register of attachments. (Not included here).
The National Board of Forensic Medicine has in January 2004 in a short answer to Thomas Allgén and Teet Härm stated that the Board is not empowered to examine Jovan Rajs’s actions, as the authority does not have the right to act on behalf of private individuals.
For more information concerning this case see also the article by Professor Lennart Sjöberg on this website: ”A case of alleged cutting-up murder in Sweden: Legal consequencies of public outrage”