Trial begins for Loimaa bus hijack suspect

This second trial begins after an earlier trial of a man facing very similar charges found him not guilty of the most serious crimes.

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File photo of judge holding documents / Credit: iStock

A man has gone on trial accused of attempted hijacking, attempted assault and traffic safety violations, after allegedly trying to make two buses collide near the town of Loimaa last December.

The prosecutor demands a prison sentence without the chance of parole in connection with the charges.

The man allegedly got up from his seat and grabbed the driver’s steering wheel as the bus was arriving at its destination in Loimaa from Turku. The bus was forced into oncoming traffic, struck a glancing blow to another oncoming bus which had swerved out the way to avoid it.

None of the five passengers on board was injured, and the driver stopped while police were called.

The accused man denies the charges.

Second incident cleared in court

This trial comes just two days after another man was cleared of similar charges in Central Finland.

That incident happened a few hours early on the same day last December on a bus heading from Helsinki to Oulu. When it got to Uurainen near Jyväskylä in central Finland, one of the passengers got up from his seat and shouted “Allahu Akbar” (God is great), lunged at the driver, and grabbed his wrist but not the steering wheel.

The man’s companions saw what was happening, overpowered him, and held him down as the bus stopped, and the driver called police. There were 15 passengers on the bus at the time, and nobody was injured.

The suspect in that case was cleared of the most serious charges, which could have landed him with a three year prison sentence. Instead he was found guilty on minor charges of public endangerment and fined €480.

At the time of the two incidents, authorities were looking into the men’s motives – they were both described by police as having ‘foreign backgrounds’ – and whether there was any collusion or coordination between the incidents which happened just hours apart.