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Supreme Court upholds fine for "paedophile hunter" who outed convicted child sex abuser

The Supreme Court found that the right to live in peace is a fundamental part of private life and also extends to persons convicted of criminal offences.

Päijät-Hämeen käräjäoikeuden kirjaston lakikirjat istuntosalissa.
Image: Emilia Malin / Yle

Finland’s Supreme Court has upheld a sentence handed down by an appeal court in the case of a self-declared "paedophile hunter" who used a Facebook page to out a man convicted of child sexual abuse.

The defendant, Mikko Parantainen of Äänekoski in central Finland had previously been convicted by a district court on charges of disseminating information that violated personal privacy and slapped with a 40-day fine. Parantainen had also been ordered to pay costs and damages amounting to 5,500 euros.

Parantainen appealed the district court verdict and sentence to the appeal court and later to the Supreme Court, but both appellate courts upheld the previous verdict and sentencing.

Convicted man turns to police

The charges were originally filed as a result of a Facebook page that Parantainen maintained, "For paedophile victims", where he published a photo of a man convicted of aggravated child sex abuse. The man had been sentenced to two years in prison for sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl in Outokumpu, eastern Finland.

The image came from the convicted man’s own Facebook profile and Parantainen linked the photo to a news item that revealed his name.

The convicted man later lodged a request for a police investigation into Parantainen’s actions.

In delivering its ruling, the Supreme Court found that the right to live in peace is a fundamental part of private life and also extends to persons convicted of criminal offences.

The Court said that the availability online of information about persons guilty of criminal activity does not mean that such information can be freely published in various contexts.

According to the higher court, the publication of the man’s photograph in particular was a gross violation of the convicted man’s privacy.

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