Update: GORGOROTH Guitarist Convicted Of Aggravated Sexual Assault, Is Cleared Of Rape Charge

GORGOROTH guitarist Infernus was convicted of aggravated sexual assault but was cleared of the more serious rape charge by a Norwegian court on Monday (Jan. 9).

Bergens Tidende reports that a four to five hour-long drama in the jury room resulted in court history being made in Norway. The verdict in the Gulating court of appeals in Bergen has created confusion.

Infernus (real name: Roger Tiegs) and a friend (whose identity has not been revealed by the Norwegian media) were found guilty of raping a 29-year-old woman last year. They were both sentenced to three years in prison. On Monday, the court of appeals upheld Tiegs' friend's rape conviction, but found no evidence to support the rape charge against the GORGOROTH guitarist.

"Everyone involved in these proceedings would benefit from finding out what [the jury] has based its decision on," said the puzzled prosecutor Gert Johan Kjelby.

Dag Idar Tryggestad at Bergens Tidende speculates that the jury must have found that one of the men (Tiegs' friend) used force against the woman and that the other man (Tiegs) was unaware of this when he later had sex with her. This despite the fact that the three of them were all in the same, small apartment at the time.

"A jury finding that [the co-defendants] played such totally different roles is not something we've seen in court practice before," said Kjelby.

Following the acquittal of Tiegs, the prosecutor asked the jury: "Is [Tiegs] guilty of aggravated sexual assault?"

Half an hour later the jury returned with the answer: "Yes."

[Editor's Note: The actual charge Tiegs was convicted of is "gross negligent rape," a provision introduced in 2000. In order for someone to be convicted of gross negligent rape, he would have to be seriously to blame for not understanding that the aggrieved person did not want intercourse. The maximum sentence for gross negligent rape is five years, but is being raised to eight years in more aggravated cases.]

"We can only speculate as to what the jury based its answer on," said the prosecutor.

The basis of the prosecutor's question is: Because of the circumstances, Tiegs should have known that his friend had forced himself on the woman and that she therefore couldn't resist when the friend had sex with her.

According to her attorney Grethe Gullhag, the woman is relieved that both were convicted, albeit only one was found guilty of rape.

Defense attorney Egil Horstad, who represents the GORGOROTH guitarist, is pleased that his client was cleared of the more serious charge. "But it's difficult to understand the jury's thought process when they find my client guilty of aggravated sexual assault,' said Horstad. "First they state that my client wasn't involved in the rape of the woman, or that he even knew that a rape had occurred. Then he's punished because he should have realized what had happened."

Defense attorney Jørgen Riple (pictured on right, with prosecutor Gert Kjelby), who represents Tiegs' friend, is upset.

"We are very disappointed, no matter how you look at the matter," he said.

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