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Suspended sentence for Lapland mountain bike shooter

A man was found guilty of the accidental shooting of a cyclist in a Lapland national park last year.

Pyöräilijä Urho kekkosen kansallispuistossa.
The Urho Kekkonen National Park is Finland's second largest. Image: Ismo Pekkarinen / AOP

On Monday Lapland District Court handed down a suspended 16-month jail sentence and fines to a man who accidentally shot a mountain biker in a national park last year.

The defendant, from Savukoski, Lapland, was found guilty of aggravated involuntary manslaughter, as well as a hunting offence.

The man, who was hunting in Urho Kekkonen National Park at the time of the incident, was sentenced to a suspended prison sentence of one year and four months. He was also ordered to surrender his weapon and to pay compensation of 12,000 euros to the victim's family, as well as 43,000 euros for loss of earnings, legal fees and funeral costs.

The court heard that the perpetrator had not been certain of his target when he fired his weapon on 17 October 2020.

The mountain biker, a 30-year-old man from Helsinki, was struck in the upper body by the bullet and died at the scene.

Safety debate for national parks

The case sparked debate over the safety of visitors to Finnish national parks after one other person was killed in a separate incident last year.

Earlier this month, state forestry agency Metsähallitus, which also oversees Finland's national parks, proposed tighter restrictions on hunting in national parks.

"We are not even proposing a total ban on hunting in national parks. Not very many [hunters] would even go to these tourist areas to hunt, but it would be clearer and safer that hunting in these places is completely banned," Metsähallitus Lapland director Jyrki Tolonen told Yle.

The incident also led one bicycle rental firm in Lapland to recommend riders wear high-visibility vests while biking in the region.

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