Deputy-Ombudsman Jussi Pajuoja independently investigated a case in which an individual was remanded in absentia according to a decision by the district court. Later, the police apprehended the individual on the basis of the arrest warrant, and he was taken to Vantaa Prison.
However, the court was not notified of the enforcement of the warrant, and, for this reason, no remand hearing was held within four days of the time when the individual had been deprived of his liberty pursuant to the warrant as is laid down in the Coercive Measures Act.
For this reason, the individual was held at Vantaa Prison for a period of over five months before the situation was noted.
No statutory notification given
The Deputy-Ombudsman found that the district court had not been notified of the enforcement of the arrest warrant in the manner required by the Coercive Measures Act. The notification was not submitted by the Helsinki Police Department, which apprehended the individual, nor by the Criminal Sanctions Agency's Enforcement Unit, which was responsible for implementation of the arrest. As the notification did not exist, a remand hearing was not held in district court.
Shortcomings also evident in legislation
According to the Deputy-Ombudsman, the law does not specifically provide on which authority is responsible for notifying the district court of the apprehension. He felt that it was justified that the division of responsibility be regulated more accurately than at present.
Additionally it seemed that the negligence to comply with the duty to notify was also due to lacking official guidelines on information flow. The Deputy Ombudsman felt it was self-evident that either the Helsinki Police Department or the Criminal Sanctions Agency's Enforcement Unit should have seen to it that the district court was immediately notified of the arrest.
The Deputy-Ombudsman has requested that the Ministry of Justice notify no later than on 1 January 2018 what procedures are necessary on the basis of his proposal on the specification of legislation.
The decision does not state an opinion on any possible compensation for time that he was deprived of liberty, as the State Treasury has handled this aspect of the case, and it has been possible to address in court as a dispute.
The decision by Deputy-Ombudsman Jussi Pajuoja 1640/2016 has been published (in Finnish) in its entirety on the Parliamentary Ombudsman's website www.oikeusasiamies.fi/.
Inquiries should be addressed to Legal Adviser Juho Martikainen, tel. +358 9 432 3336