Jari Aarnio, a former chief of the Helsinki Police Department's drug squad, is suspected of an attempt to frame an innocent person for a crime, investigators have revealed.
Jukka Haavisto, the prosecutor in charge of the investigation, revealed on Wednesday that the suspected attempt is related to the offences already under investigation but declined to comment further on the matter, with the investigation still in its early stages.
The new suspicions did not arise until after the presentation of closing statements on the pre-trial investigation.
Haavisto highlighted that the plaintiff has not been convicted of any offences due to the suspected framing attempt but refrained from commenting on whether the attempt may have otherwise inconvenienced the plaintiff.
The District Court of Helsinki on Wednesday extended the detention of Aarnio on grounds of a slew of earlier criminal charges. In addition, he was detained for probable cause of aggravated falsification of evidence for his activities between February 2012 and spring 2013.
The rare and serious charge carries a minimum penalty of four months' and a maximum penalty of six years' imprisonment. Between 2009 and 2012, only five were convicted of falsification of evidence in Finland and no one of aggravated falsification of evidence.
In addition, the leader of an outlaw gang with alleged ties to Aarnio is believed to have been involved in the framing attempt. His detention was on Wednesday extended by the District Court of Helsinki on grounds of several earlier criminal charges, as well as aiding and abetting aggravated falsification of evidence for his activities on 21 February 2012.
Aarnio has been held in detention since November and the gang leader since December. They have both denied all criminal accusations throughout the protracted pre-trial proceedings.
Riitta Leppiniemi, the defence counsel of Aarnio, said after Wednesday's detention hearing that the prolonged period in detention and seclusion has been hard on Aarnio. She also criticised the decision of the district court to postpone the deadline for bringing charges until 22 October.
The trial is, thereby, not expected to commence until November.
Altogether, Aarnio is set to face charges of nearly 30 offences, including aggravated drug offence and aggravated bribery.
Lasse Kerkelä, Minna Passi – HS
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
© HELSINGIN SANOMAT
Photo: Martti Kainulainen / Lehtikuva