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Wednesday's papers: Shooting mysteries, videotaping witnesses, birds dodge windmills

Finnish papers tackle the gaps in the Porvoo shooting, a law to curb false testimony and a first-time wind turbine safety survey.

Näkymä Ajoksen tuuliturbiineista.
Birds are mostly able to avoid bumping into wind turbines. Image: Matti Immonen / IKEA Suomi

A dramatic news story on two brothers who shot and injured two police officers in Porvoo last weekend is making the tabloid rounds this Wednesday, as police still investigate the many details in the case that are not yet publicly known.

Daily Iltalehti lists five main unknowns in the open case, starting with the emergency call that prompted officers to investigate an industrial area of the city of Porvoo just after midnight on Sunday. The initial caller reported a "routine disturbance" – but the identity of said caller is still a mystery, even though head investigator Kimmo Huhta-aho confirmed that the person is relevant to the solving of the case.

Information on the exact sequence of events at this initial location is still sketchy; however, IL writes that several news outlets speculated on Tuesday that it was a planned ambush.

The motives of the two identically-dressed brothers are still not yet fully understood, according to IL. While Huhta-aho said the course of events resembled organised crime patterns, chief of police Seppo Kolehmainen said on Sunday that he was not aware of such a connection. The duo have no prior criminal record.

Reports about the length of the men's stay in Porvoo differs between newspapers, as does explanations as to why their apprehension took nearly a full day. Police have also not yet divulged the extent of the injuries suffered by the two police officers.

Follow the Yle News website and our radio broadcasts for updates on this story as it develops.

Courts want to crack down on lying under oath

Finland's top-selling daily Helsingin Sanomat writes about a new measure to address one of the most glaring problems in the modern justice system: false testimony and the unreliability of witness memory.

HS writes that the passage of time is a problem for justice because human memory is incredibly fickle, being easily influenced by a variety of factors.

The Ministry of Justice published a memo on Wednesday suggesting a potential solution: videotaping all first-time eyewitness testimonies for further review and corroboration.

Todistaja käräjäoikeudessa
Witnesses forget things over time, the Justice Ministry said. Image: Yle

The amount of court appearances could be limited to just one per case and wrong sentencing could decrease. The differences between testimonies in district courts versus courts of appeal are also a severe problem, according to the District Court of North Karelia.

"At worst the district court hearings are little more than rehearsals for the stage show that is the court of appeal trial," the regional court wrote.

Finland's parliament previously ordered an investigation into the pros and cons of video recording in court rooms back in 2014, HS outlines. Meanwhile courts in neighbouring Sweden have been using videotaped testimonies for more than a decade, leading to a reduction in the number of hearings.

"Courts of appeal [in Sweden] have come to the conclusion that the ability to review testified evidence has improved the quality of decision-making, because the witnesses' memories are more recent in district court, making for more accurate testimony," HS quotes the Ministry of Justice.

Most birds safe from windmills in Ostrobothnia

Meanwhile the first Finnish investigation into the potential health risks posed to birds by wind turbines in forested regions has discovered that the windmills have very little impact on bird populations.

Local paper Kaleva wrote that the study headed by biologist Ville Suorsa from tech company FCG took five years. The wind power parks in Northern Ostrobothnia, indeed anywhere in Finland, were surveyed for long-term risk factors for the first time.

Kaleva reports that the study observed bird behaviour for 324 days in the far northern regions of Simo and Ii, and 120 days in Kalajoki and Pyhäjoki. Monitors found a total of 48 birds that had collided with turbines, representing 19 species; not all of the birds found were killed by the impact.

No swans or geese were found in the set, despite being previously considered most at risk of injuring themselves on pylons and blades.

The bird that had the most trouble with dodging the power structures was the capercaillie or wood grouse. Kaleva writes that 13 of the 48 birds were of this species.

"Fowl of this kind have poor forward-directed vision," Suorsa said. "The bottom of the white wind power stations against a dark background may appear to these birds to be clearings in a forest, which they sometimes try to fly through."

However most birds, including migratory species, were found to be able to avoid the massive structures.

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