The Parliamentary Ombudsman Petri Jääskeläinen has issued a reprimand to a Detective Sergeant, who was largely responsible for the fact that the pre-trial investigation of a serious sexual offence against a minor was not carried out without undue delay.
After the victim had been questioned, nothing was done in the case for nearly two years. Although the head of investigation drew attention to the delay, the case still did not proceed until the investigator was replaced. After this, the case proceeded from the police to the consideration of charges in just over a month after the necessary interviews were conducted. The case was not wide-ranging nor was the nature of the case exceptional, but the pre-trial investigation lasted for more than two and a half years. The case is now pending in the District Court.
According to the Ombudsman, there were also failures in supervision regarding the duration of the pre-trial investigation. The delay should have been addressed more effectively earlier. The Ombudsman therefore drew the attention of the head of investigation and the police department to monitor the duration of pre-trial investigations.
In addition, the Detective Sergeant had neglected to give the parents of the 16-year old victim the opportunity to attend the victim’s questioning and had not subsequently informed them of the questioning and its content. The Detective Sergeant had also neglected to direct the victim to support services. This should have been the procedure even if the victim’s lawyer had been present at the interview.
The full text of Parliamentary Ombudsman Petri Jääskeläinen's decision no 6899/2019 has been published (in Finnish) on the Parliamentary Ombudsman's website at www.oikeusasiamies.fi.
Further information on the case is available from Principal Legal Adviser Juha Haapamäki, tel. +358 9 432 3334.