The Appeal Court in Helsinki is hearing the case of a judge who was convicted and fined for failing to fully protect the names of some sex abuse victims, which were sent to the media.
Disgraced Finnish entertainer and television personality Axl Smith was convicted in 2017 for secretly filming 29 women, including with a camera hidden in his bedroom, and distributing the images.
During the trial Judge Maritta Pakarinen decided the case was so sensitive that the names of seven of the victims should be fully or partially withheld.
The District Court uses a system to redact the names but ultimately it is the judge’s responsibility to ensure their privacy was maintained. However the seven names were included in the final judgment which was sent out to 140 media email addresses.
Judge Pakarinen was fined 25 days income by the District Court – equal to €1450 – and ordered to contribute €2000 in compensation to the victims. They also received €1000 each from the state.
In her appeal, lawyers for Judge Pakarinen say she had written and checked more than 150 pages of judgment in the case and that it was human error rather than negligence, that the names were not properly redacted. This is not punishable by criminal law, the defence team argues.
Some of the victims have said they experienced harassment, anxiety and fear due to their names being revealed.
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