Deputy-Ombudsman Pasi Pölönen has requested the Ministry of Justice to report on the operation of the Sakari system being used by prosecutors and districts courts. The Sakari system is a record-keeping and case management system for drawing up the documents needed in the criminal justice procedure, such as the application for a summons and the summons. Prosecutors fill in the charges and any other demands they may have on the application for a summons template in the Sakari system, and they use the system to submit the application for a summons to the district court in electronic format. The case is instituted when the application for a summons is received by the district court.
An inspection performed by the Office of the Parliamentary Ombudsman showed, for example, that there are often shortcomings and errors in the applications for a summons submitted to the district court for the simple reason that even quite usual names do not fit into the fields reserved for them in the Sakari system’s application for a summons template. For example, after a relatively long surname, the second forename “Juhani” may appear in an application for a summons in the form “Juha”, and “Kaius” in the form “Kai”. A third forename may be left out partly or fully even after a medium-length surname and usual forenames. The Deputy-Ombudsman has enquired from the Ministry of Justice why, during about 20 years of use, the authorities have failed to fix the fields reserved for people’s names in the application for a summons to be completed in Sakari in such a way that the names of the people concerned would fit in the fields reserved for them in full and without errors.
The Deputy-Ombudsman also observed that in bigger criminal cases, the amount of space in the fields for the description of the criminal act and the evidence included in the application for a summons, to be completed in the Sakari system, is insufficient. When there is no more space left, Sakari prompts the prosecutor to: “Condense the text”. The Deputy-Ombudsman requested the Ministry of Justice to report on what the legal grounds are for allowing Sakari to limit the length of a description of the act drawn up by an independent and autonomous prosecutor working as significant administrator of justice, or to limit the amount of evidence being presented, or to order the prosecutor to condense their text. The Deputy-Ombudsman considered the question important in principle.
The Ministry of Justice shall obtain a statement from the Legal Register Centre and submit its own report to the Deputy-Ombudsman by 29 November 2019.
Inspection report 1406/2019 is available in Finnish on the ombudsman’s website www.oikeusasiamies.fi.
For further information, please contact: Principal Legal Adviser Jarmo Hirvonen, tel. +358 9 432 3336, and Senior Legal Adviser Terhi Arjola-Sarja tel. +358 9 432 3358.