Tarja Koskela – Eurocrim2021

Decision not to prosecute on the basis of unreasonableness or inappropriateness in animal welfare offences

Tarja Koskela, LL.D., University Lecturer (Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure Law), University of Eastern Finland
Law School
Tarja Koskela. Photo: Private.

In Finland, the prosecutor shall bring a charge for a suspected offence if the prosecutor deems that:
(1) it is punishable according to law
(2) the right for prosecution is not time-barred
(3) probable grounds exist to support the guilt of the suspect. Even though there are probable grounds to support the guilt of the suspected person, the prosecutor may waive charges on the grounds laid down in law.

According to Criminal Procedure Act, unless an important public or private interest requires otherwise, the prosecutor may decide not to prosecute if criminal proceedings and punishment are to be deemed unreasonable or purposeless in view of a settlement reached by the suspect in the offence and the injured party, the other action of the suspect in the offence to prevent or remove the effects of the offence, the personal circumstances of the suspect in the offence, the other consequences of the act to the suspected person, the welfare and health care measures undertaken and the other circumstances. This means that there will be no consequences for a suspected offence. In my research, I analyse decisions not to prosecute made on the basis described above in relation to crimes against animals.