CANNONBALL MC and its sub-organisation, Squad 32, have been ordered to cease all operations.
The District Court of Päijät-Häme on Wednesday viewed in its unanimous ruling that the motorcycle club had acted materially in violation of the law and commonly accepted principles of morality, according to YLE.
Prosecutor Timo Honkahuhta stated to the public broadcaster that the ruling was “expected and absolutely necessary” given the damage the organisations have caused to society.
The prosecution had argued that the main and dominant purpose of the organisations was to commit crimes and viewed that the organisations were structured in a manner that can be likened to an organised crime group.
The three judges concurred with the prosecution, highlighting that the members of the motorcycle clubs are in a command relationship with each other and have an obligation to follow orders. The members have additionally been grouped based on a scale of merit in the vein of a military organisation.
“The court ruled that arming yourself with firearms and having a strict hierarchy, rules and command structure are close to military activity. That means that the structures are such that aren’t permitted under the associations act,” Kimmo Nuotio, a professor of criminal law at the University of Helsinki, stated to YLE.
The ruling indicates that the clubs had operations in at least Heinola, Helsinki, Hämeenlinna, Joensuu, Jyväskylä, Kausala, Kuopio, Seinäjoki, Turku and Ulvila, as well as Tallinn and Thailand.
The prosecution received more support for its calls to dissolve the organisation from the drug and firearms offences committed by members of Cannonball MC in 2021. A total of 12 club members were sentenced to non-suspended prison terms, and several others to lesser punishments, for offences exposed based on intelligence shared by the FBI.
The District Court of Päijät-Häme on Wednesday ruled, for example, that the firearms found in club facilities show that they are part of the clubs’ activities.
Dissolving the clubs, it concluded, is warranted because promoting crime and engaging in illegal activity in order to support such aims do not fall within the remit of the freedom of association.
Cannonball MC is set to become the first motorcycle club to be abolished in Finland, according to YLE. The District Court of East Uusimaa ordered the criminal gang United Brotherhood to cease all activity in 2021, while the Supreme Court issued a similar order to the neo-Nazi group Nordic Resistance Movement in 2020.
It remains premature to speculate how the ruling, assuming it is not overturned by an appellate court, could affect the operations of Cannonball MC. “Time will tell how criminal activity will react to this and what the present club members decide to do with their lives,” said Honkahuhta.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT