Victims' rights - by country

Fínsko

Autor obsahu
Fínsko

Can I appeal against a sentence or if the defendant is declared not guilty?

Is further appeal possible?

What rights do I have after the court sentence enters into force?

More information

Can I appeal against a sentence or if the defendant is declared not guilty?

You can appeal against the sentence of the District Court before the Court of Appeal. When the District Court pronounces the sentence, it will inform you and the other parties (the prosecutor and the offender) how to submit an appeal.

You may appeal against a sentence if it has a harmful effect on you and your interests regardless of whether you have made a statement during the case. Within seven days of the day when the decision of the District Court was pronounced you need to declare your intent to appeal. The declaration can be made, either orally or in writing, to the court that decided the case or to the registry office of that court. Otherwise you may lose your right to be heard. If your declaration of intent to appeal is rejected (for instance, if it has not been filed in accordance with the applicable rules), you can send a written complaint to the Court of Appeal. The complaint has to be submitted at the registry office of the District Court within 30 days of the date the decision of the District Court was pronounced. When your declaration of intent to appeal has not been rejected, you will receive appeal instructions annexed to a copy of the decision of the District Court. These appeal instructions indicate the appellate court and the deadline to file the appeal. The instructions explain the provisions related to the appeal and the content and annexes of the appeal document (1).

You need to submit your appeal document within 30 days from the date when the decision of the District Court was pronounced. The appeal has to be submitted at the registry office of the District Court before the end of office hours on the last day of the 30-day period. An appeal filed after the deadline will automatically be dismissed. You can withdraw your appeal by way of a written notification, addressed to the Court of Appeal, to the registry office of the Court of Appeal or to the registry office of the District Court. You need to attend the hearing before the Court of Appeal if the court finds your presence necessary for the resolution of the case.

If nobody appeals against the court’s decision, it will become final after the deadline for the appeal. After this moment the decision cannot be appealed.

Is further appeal possible?

Instructions on when and how you can further appeal before the Supreme Court will be annexed to the decision of the Court of Appeal. However, to approach the Supreme Court you need a permit of appeal, which you can request from the Supreme Court. Such a permit will only be granted if:

  • it is important to bring the case before the Supreme Court because the decision concerns the application of law in other similar cases or because of the uniformity of legal practice; or
  • there is a special reason for appeal due to a procedural or other error on the basis of which the decision is to be reversed or annulled; or
  • there is another important reason for granting a permit to appeal. A permit to appeal may also be granted as regards a part of the decision of the Court of Appeal.

You can request the permit and submit the appeal within 60 days from the date on which the decision of the Court of Appeal was made. Within this deadline you have to submit to the registry office of the Court of Appeal your letter of appeal, addressed to the Supreme Court and containing both the request for permit and the appeal. The documents you use as evidence for the appeal have to be annexed to the letter of appeal.

You need to attend the hearing before or the Supreme Court if the court finds your presence necessary for the resolution of the case.

What rights do I have after the court sentence enters into force?

You will be informed when the offender is released, if there is a well-grounded reason to believe that he or she might be a danger to you. A notification may also be sent to any person in relation to whom the offender is under a restraining order (2). You do not have the right to intervene when a decision is made concerning the conditional or provisional release of the offender.

All the relevant information is provided in a language that you understand, free of charge.

More information:

· Criminal Procedure Act 689/1997 (Laki oikeudenkäynnistä rikosasioissa 689/1997; Lag om rättegång i brottmål 689/1997) – in English, Finnish and Swedish

· Code of Judicial Procedure 4/1734 (Oikeudenkäymiskaari 4/1734; Rättegångs Balk 4/1734) – in English, Finnish and Swedish

Notes:

1. Appeal document
The appeal document, which is addressed to the appropriate Court of Appeal, has to indicate:
· the District Court decision that is being appealed;
· which points of the decision of the District Court are appealed;
· what changes are requested in the decision of the District Court;
· what are the reasons for the changes and how, in the view of the appellant, the statement of the
· reasons of the District Court is erroneous;
· the grounds for granting a permit to continue the proceedings in cases such is required;
· the evidence referred to and what the appellant intends to prove with each piece of evidence, a request for the holding of a main hearing at the Court of Appeal and your opinion on whether the parties should be heard in person during the main hearing, and which witnesses, expert witnesses or other persons have to be heard during the main hearing;
· the names of the parties and contact information of their legal representatives, attorneys or counsel;
· the postal address and other addresses to which the exhortations, invitations and notifications
· pertaining to the case may be delivered to you (address for service).
The appeal document must be signed by you or by the person who has drawn it up on your behalf.

2. Restraining order
If you feel threatened or harassed you can apply for a restraining order on the person threatening you. A restraining order means that to protect your life, health, freedom or peace, another person is ordered not to contact you. A restraining order may be imposed also when the person protected by the order and the person on whom the restraining order is imposed live in the same household.
The application can be made in writing or orally to the police or at the district court. It is the District Court that decides on the matter. A temporary restraining order, which enters into force immediately, can also be issued by a civil servant with the right to arrest a person (a senior policeman or a public prosecutor) or by the District Court.
If you are in a situation in which you are under a threat and you feel that you need a restraining order, you can get advice and help from the police, the social service authorities, the public prosecutor and voluntary organisations.
Last update: 14/10/2018

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