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Court dismisses charges against teen accused of life endangerment

The incident occurred last summer when a group of teenagers chased a 14-year-old boy until he hid in deep water under a pier.

Kuvassa on Vantaan Kuusijärvi.
The incident happened at Kuusijärvi beach in Vantaa last June. Image: Silja Viitala / Yle

A district court in East Uusimaa has dismissed charges against a teenage boy in relation to an incident last summer at the Kuusijärvi beach in Vantaa.

The prosecutor in the case said that the 16-year-old boy and a group of others had intimidated and then chased a 14-year-old boy until he sought to escape by hiding in the water under the pier. This put him in danger of drowning, the prosecutor said, and police initially investigated the matter as attempted manslaughter.

Charges were only filed against one member of the group, as the others were all below the age of 15 at the time of the incident and therefore not criminally liable according to Finnish law.

The prosecutor also said that the victim's head was pushed into the water during the initial chase, and that when he tried to get away from the group by hiding under the pier, the group surrounded him and would not allow him to get out. This amounted to endangering the life or health of another person through carelessness or recklessness, the prosecutor charged.

A passerby then intervened and told the group to stop bouncing on the pier.

The 16-year-old accused had denied the charges, saying he chased the boy as a joke but had not participated in any of the other events described in the indictment.

The court ruled that surveillance camera footage from the beach was inconclusive in determining exactly what happened, adding that the incident was "somewhat confusing", and dismissed the charges.

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