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Finns Party MP fined for assault, sexual harassment of fellow MP at Christmas party

Finns Party MP Teuvo Hakkarainen was found guilty of assaulting and sexually harassing National Coalition Party MP Veera Ruoho at a Christmas party last year.

Finns Party MP in Helsinki District Court on Monday. Image: Ville Tapio / Yle

On Monday Helsinki District Court ordered Finns Party MP Teuvo Hakkarainen to pay 45 day fines and 1,400 euros in damages to National Coalition Party MP Veera Ruoho and was also ordered to pay her court costs.

During the trial prosecutors had asked the court to impose a suspended jail sentence on Hakkarainen.

The incident itself took place late last year at a Christmas party at Parliament in Helsinki. The court heard testimony that a very intoxicated Hakkarainen had walked away from the festivities to the parliament building's cafe where he saw Ruoho.

According to court testimony Hakkarainen seated himself beside the female MP, and then in an attempt to kiss her, grabbed her neck to pull her towards his face.

Ruoho's party colleague Kari Tolvanen intervened after hearing her tell Hakkarainen to stop.

After the forced kiss was interrupted, Hakkarainen said, "I managed to kiss Veera."

Ruoho said that she had neck pain and was very shaken after the incident. She said the pain lasted into the New Year and noted that she had previously hurt her neck in a sports injury.

Hakkarainen too drunk to remember assault

The day after the Christmas party Hakkarainen apologised to Ruoho. The Finns Party MP, who has been no stranger to controversy during his political career, said he was so drunk that that he had no memory at all of the assault.

Hakkarainen rejected the assertion that his actions were criminal because they were not intentional, saying that it was just a "big bear hug" and that he only wanted to show affection towards Ruoho.

The prosecution had called for a 60-day suspended jail sentence and reparations amounting to 1,600 euros for Ruoho's pain and suffering. The prosecutor also demanded that Hakkarainen pay Ruoho's court costs of some 2,300 euros.

Prosecutors are now considering whether to appeal the district court decision.