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What happens in court?

The handling of the criminal case in court is chaired by a qualified judge. In addition to him/her, three board men, i.e. Laymen, may participate in the proceedings.

In the criminal proceedings, the parties are the victim of crime, i.e. The plaintiff, the person accused of the crime, i.e. The defendant and the official prosecutor, who presents the charges raised against the defendant. Witnesses are often questioned in court in order to settle the case. Witnesses are called into the courtroom only for time they are testifying. In addition, there may be the parties’ possible attorneys, the plaintiff’s support person, possible interpreters, the parents of minor parties and in case of young people, a representative of the social panel.

Finnish trials differ significantly in terms of relatedness and formality of the fictional reality of American movies and television series. In a criminal case trial, only the criminal cases for which charges have been raised are handled. Other disputes and lifestyles between the parties are not considered in the court room. Only a person, who has been prosecuted can be charged for the crime.

The criminal proceedings follow a certain formality. First the people present are stated. Then the prosecutor presents his/her claims against the defendant and justifies them. He/she shall also present any claims for compensation of the victim, if this has been agreed. If the victim personally makes any claims for compensation, the stand is given to him/her or his/her advisor after the prosecutor. Next the defendant or his/her advisor is heard. The defendant either admits or denies to have committed the act for which he/she has been prosecuted. He/she shall also state whether he/she agrees to pay the compensation claimed by the victim.

Then the prosecutor and victim or his/her advisor shall go in to more detail on their point of view. The defendant shall personally, or through his/her advisor, state his/her view on the issues presented in court. After this, the witnesses are heard and any further evidence is presented. The victim and defendant can also be heard for witness purposes. Finally, the prosecutor and the parties of the criminal case present their view on what has been presented and their opinion on a verdict.

The verdict can be announced at the end of the trial. It can also be obtained in writing from the district court office, usually within two weeks. Usually your own attorney will obtain it. The verdict of the district court may be appealed, either directly to the Court of Appeal or by requesting permission for further hearings. The verdict stated by the Court of Appeal can be appealed to the Supreme Court.

In some cases, the defendant is requested to have psychological examinations carried out. The court will decide on this. The examinations are carried out in a psychiatric hospital and it will suspend the trial for a few months.