Geographical area

Salduz sweeps Finland, by Markku Fredman


On 9 May 2012 the Finnish Supreme Court issued a decision in a Salduz-type case.

A Nigerian man had been sentenced to 9 years in prison for a gross narcotics crime and a negligent manslaughter. He had no lawyer in his first interrogations. In the trial the prosecutor used his statements to the police as evidence against him. The accused did not even understand Finnish language and there was no translator in the interrogations. So he could not understand the text he had signed in the interrogations.

The Supreme Court mentioned several ECHR judgments and decided as precedent that this kind of statements given to the police without any consultations with a lawyer cannot be used as evidence. The Supreme Court returned the case to the Court of Appeal to be tried again without the disputed evidence.

The decision can be found in Finnish on the web pages of the Supreme Court. The main point is also available in Swedish.

There is already a wide discussion on the decision. In this blog a former professor of law writes that he has written for years about this problem which is now hopefully solved.

In am interview a Finnish MP, former chief of police, criticizes the decision of the Supreme Court. 

In an interview by the magazine of the Bar Association the Finnish Prosecutor General proposes a 24/7 on call system for lawyers so that they would be available for the interrogations.

Mr. Markku Fredman

asianajaja, advokat, VT, OTL
Porkkalankatu 13 C,
00180 Helsinki, Finland
+358 9 8770300, fax +358 9 2787211

  • Geographical area: International