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High-profile defence lawyer's domestic assault appeal rejected

On Tuesday the Helsinki Court of Appeal rejected an appeal, upholding an 80-day suspended jail sentence for domestic violence crimes, carried out by one of Finland's most well-known defence attorneys, Heikki Lampela.

Juristi Heikki Lampela.
Defence lawyer Heikki Lampela. Image: Vesa Moilanen / Lehtikuva

In November 2015, the high-profile defence lawyer Heikki Lampela was convicted of assaulting and threatening his girlfriend at their summer home in Espoo in May of that year. Lampela had reportedly strangled his girlfriend and threatened her with a knife.

On Tuesday the Helsinki Court of Appeal upheld Espoo District Court's earlier suspended jail sentence of 80 days.

Lampela had appealed the sentence because he claimed he was protecting himself and his property when he restrained his girlfriend. He also motivated the appeal due to the media coverage that the case received, which he said had damaged him.

The prosecutor said that Lampela should be convicted of abuse of legal proceedings, saying that he had threatened his girlfriend from making a police report about the violent incident.

Appeal rejected

In its decision, the Court of Appeal decided to reject the appeal because it did not find that the incident was a case of self defence. But it also found there was no proof that Lampela had attempted to prevent his girlfriend from making a criminal complaint.

In June of 2016 Lampela was convicted of illegal threatening and simple assault. In its decision at the time, Espoo District Court found that Lampela had threatened his girlfriend with an axe during an argument at their summer cottage in November 2015.

Lampela was sentenced to 30 day fines for the incident, but the case is due to be re-examined because Lampela is appealing the case.

High profile defence attorney

Lampela has been a defence lawyer in many high-profile cases over the years. In early 2016 he represented the defendant in highly-publicised trial and appeal cases in Helsinki, where a 28 year-old man received a life sentence for murdering his 58 year-old neighbour.

He also defended Nils Gustafsson - the only survivor in the still-unsolved Lake Bodom triple murder in 1960 - who was charged in 2005 with three counts of murder, 44 years after the crimes took place. Gustafsson's case was eventually dismissed and was awarded nearly 45,000 euros for time spent in jail and mental anguish.

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