Court rejects tongue bite self-defence appeal

05.02.2019 - 14:58
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The Supreme Court of Iceland has rejected an appeal from Nara Walker, an Australian woman found guilty of biting part of her husband’s tongue off in November two years ago. Walker was sentenced to 12 months, including nine months as a suspended sentence at the district court level. The Landsréttur appeals court increased the sentence to 18 months (15 months suspended). Walker has told her story in Icelandic and Australian media and has been highly critical of the Icelandic police.

Nara Walker claims her attack was purely self-defence. She told Fréttablaðið at the start of this year that she feels she is something of a precedent case in Iceland when it comes to the emergency self-defence of women who suffer violence or domestic abuse. How far can they go to defend themselves when put in physical danger?

In her appeal to the Supreme Court, Nara points to the fact that the Landsréttur judgement was made on the basis of her having bitten the tongue of her husband during an altercation with him. The court ruled, however, that her behaviour could not be classed as self-defence without further proof. 

The Supreme Court says in its ruling that the guilty verdict from Landsréttur was built first and foremost on an assessment of the quality of evidence provided in oral testimony from Nara Walker, her former husband, and other witnesses. That assessment will not be re-examined before the Supreme Court.  

Walker has told her story in the Australian media. In an interview with 9 News, she criticised the Icelandic police, saying that instead of being offered medical support on that fateful evening, she was handcuffed and locked up in a cell. “They judged me guilty as soon as they walked into the flat,” she told the television station.

Nara has been subject to a travel ban since her arrest in 2017 and is still on the waiting list to serve her three months in prison.

Alexander Elliott
Project manager
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