Ex-VJ sentenced for secret sex tapes

A Finnish TV personality has been convicted of defamation, violation of privacy and other charges stemming from his secret recordings of sex acts at his home.

Salakatselusta syytetty tv-juontaja Axl Smith Helsingin käräjäoikeudessa 18. tammikuuta.
Finnish TV host Axl Smith at Helsinki District Court on January 18, 2017. Image: Martti Kainulainen / Lehtikuva

Former Finnish Music Television presenter Axl Smith has been convicted of secretly filming himself having sex with dozens of women in his bedroom.

On Tuesday, Smith was handed a 14-month suspended sentence for 30 counts of voyeurism, four counts of defamation and two counts of disseminating information that violates privacy. Smith had shown some of the videos to others, including through the messaging service WhatsApp.

He admitted to some of the offences, but claimed the tapes were simply part of his home security system, and intended to protect him against potential allegations of wrongdoing.

Helsinki District Court also ordered Smith to pay his victims 100,000 euros in damages and more than 50,000 euros in legal expenses. There were a total of 29 victims. Charges were not filed in some other cases due to insufficient evidence or the statute of limitations.

No comment from Smith

The court held its proceedings behind closed doors and has protected the identities of the victims.

The prosecutor had sought a suspended sentence of at least a year and a half as well as fines, while the victims had claimed damages of more than 170,000 euros.

Smith's lawyer Markku Salonen told Yle that Smith would not comment on the ruling.

Smith, 32, worked for the MTV Nordic music channel and other TV shows, and has performed as a vocalist and musician. He also had a voice-over role in the Finnish version of the animated movie Frozen and served as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.

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