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Controversial city councillor faces assault, firearms charges

Teemu Torssonen was previously cleared of involvement in the attempted murder of Finns Party aide Pekka Kataja.

Keski-Suomen käräjäoikeus.
The case will be heard in Jyväskylä District Court in May. Image: Niko Mannonen / Yle

Jyväskylä City Councillor Teemu Torssonen has been charged with assault, a firearms offence and making an illegal threat. The case will be heard by Jyväskylä District Court on 19 May.

The charges of assault and making an illegal threat are related to an incident in the city on 24 May last year, which the prosecutor alleges began when a man made a comment to Torssonen's spouse. The man had allegedly said that the councillor had put up posters around Jyväskylä harbour.

The man alleges that Torssonen then confronted him over the comments later in the day at a separate location. According to both him and a witness at the scene, Torssonen struck the man in the head with a stone that he had taken from his pocket. The victim of the alleged assault said he tried to defend himself from this attack by using his legs to push himself away from Torssonen.

In response to this allegation, Torssonen has counter-alleged that he himself was the victim of the attack, and claimed he was only defending himself.

Both were suspected of assault during the pre-trial investigation, but the prosecutor dropped the case against the other man.

Regional prosecutor Janne Kangas decided that, based on the witness accounts, the evidence suggested Torssonen was waiting for the man because of what had happened earlier in the day and he attacked the alleged victim, who tried to defend himself.

Torssonen told Yle that the prosecutor's decision is incorrect.

"I'm really amazed that this can be turned completely on its head," Torssonen said.

Police suspect Torssonen staged car vandalism

Shortly after this incident, the police ordered Torssonen to deliver his shotgun, pistol and a bird rifle to authorities, which is standard practice when the holder of a firearms licence is suspected of a crime.

However, according to police, Torssonen informed them his car had been broken into and his firearms had been stolen from it.

Yle previously reported in February that police suspect Torssonen staged the break-in to the car. Jyväskylä-based newspaper Keskisuomalainen published pictures at the time showing a broken rear window, spray paint on the car, and a note attached to the windscreen wipers. The note read "nazi pig and whore it was your last act".

Doubts about the break-in arose during the police's investigation into Torssonen's suspected involvment in the attempted murder of Finns Party aide Pekka Kataja last July. The weapons were found by officers in the possession of one of Torssonen's acquaintances during a search of an address in a different part of the country.

Story continues after the photo.

Teemu Torssonen
File photo of Teemu Torssonen.
Police then began to suspect that Torssonen had asked his friend to collect his weapons and vandalise the car, which belonged to Torssonen's mother.

During the course of the investigation, Torssonen's mother announced that she was withdrawing her claim for damages. which led to the prosecutor closing the case.

However, the alleged staging of the break-in may be the subject of a future court case.

"At this stage, I have not taken a position on the allegations of staging the break-in," regional prosecutor Kangas said.

Torssonen strongly denies any involvement in the car break-in, as well as the firearms offence.

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