Juhani Zarianov, pictured at the District Court of Helsinki in April 2013, practised medicine without a licence for over three years in the Pirkanmaa region.The Helsinki Court of Appeal has sentenced Juhani Zarianov to one year and ten months' imprisonment for practising medicine without a formal licence in the Pirkanmaa region for several years.

Thereby, the court converted the two-year probation order handed to Zarianov a year earlier by the District Court of Helsinki to a non-suspended prison sentence, arguing that a stiffer punishment is required to maintain general abidance by the law.

"The court of appeal considers the pursuit of the position of a doctor while disregarding patient safety serious to the degree that it warrants a prison sentence," the Helsinki Court of Appeal explains in its verdict.

Both the prosecutor and the defence had appealed against the ruling by the district court, the former demanding a non-suspended prison term and the latter that his punishment be reduced to half.

The court of appeal acquitted the defendant of one count of aggravated fraud and consequently reduced the length of his sentence. As a result, Zarianov was found guilty of four counts of aggravated fraud, one count of aggravated registration offence and the unlicensed practice of a health care profession.

The offences occurred in 2008-2011.

After acquiring his fake medical qualifications from Russia for 500 euros, Zarianov was employed as a doctor in training for three years and as a doctor for a few months in the Pirkanmaa Hospital District.

"Zarianov has caused no danger to anyone. He is a nurse and therefore more competent than a first or second-year medical student," argued Petteri Snell, the legal counsel of Zarianov, during a hearing at the Helsinki Court of Appeal.

In his defence, Zarianov also said that he did not recognise the unlawful nature of his acts because he comes from a different legal culture.

Susanna Reinboth – HS
Lehtikuva / Markku Ulander