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Helsinki Court prepares to hear ex-narcotics cop Jari Aarnio's drug trafficking conviction appeal

The latest round in a convoluted case involving Finland’s biggest crime thriller-turned-reality began in the Helsinki Court of Appeal on Tuesday. Former Helsinki drug squad chief Jari Aarnio is appealing against a 10-year prison sentence for drug offences and official misconduct.

Jari Aarnio
Image: Kalevi Rytkölä / Yle

On Tuesday the Helsinki Court of Appeal began preparations for hearing the case of former Helsinki drug squad boss Jari Aarnio, who was slapped with a 10-year custodial prison sentence for a raft of offences related to drug crimes and official misconduct.

The sentence was handed down by the Helsinki District Court last December after a sensational and prolonged trial that involved 12 other defendants and turned on the importation of nearly 800 kilograms of hashish from the Netherlands. The illegal substance was then distributed in Finland between 2011 and 2012.

The court ruled that Aarnio was a central figure in the drug ring and found him guilty on five counts of aggravated drug offences. Aarnio has maintained his innocence since he was detained by police a few years earlier. When the verdict was handed down in 2016, he indicated that he would appeal the verdict.

The Appeal Court began hearing the appeal Tuesday morning with a preparatory hearing in which the parties agreed the schedule for the main hearings next autumn. The session mainly involved lawyers for the defence and prosecution as well as their aides.

Aarnio is calling on the Appeal Court to dismiss the charges brought against him and to overturn last December’s verdict and sentence.

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