Helsingin hallinto-oikeuden päätös esitutkintapöytäkirjojen julkisuudesta
Helsinki Administrative Court’s decision on the publicity of pre-trial investigation records

Publication date 17.12.2020 16.47 | Published in English on 2.1.2021 at 15.41
News item

Today, the Helsinki Administrative Court has decided to revoke the National Bureau of Investigation’s decision on a matter concerning the publicity of official documents.

The National Bureau of Investigation had refused to give a reporter full access to the pre-trial investigation records they had requested, and had instead covered the name details of such persons whom the police suspected to be involved in organised crime. 

The National Bureau of Investigation’s decision was based on the police manual on publicity and the Parliamentary Ombudsman’s decision according to which such information must be kept secret under the Act on the Openness of Government Activities (Openness Act). The administrative court considered that the National Bureau of Investigation could not refuse to give up name details.

As has the Parliamentary Ombudsman, the National Police Board of Finland too has emphasised the importance of the reform of the Openness Act. Before that, it is particularly important to have more legal cases of interpreting the imperative provisions of the Openness Act. However, the administrative court’s decision deviates from the earlier administrative law practice related to the same theme.  

The National Police Board will study the decision in question together with the National Bureau of Investigation. They will also consider whether it would be justified to request leave to appeal from the Supreme Administrative Court, in order to clarify the legal state and to gain a preliminary ruling from the directive court. 

If the decision is not appealed, the National Police Board will evaluate and change or specify the policies of the manual on publicity if necessary. 

The National Police Board underlines that the manual on publicity is a living document, which changes constantly with legal practices.

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