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Application no. 14161/03
by Hannu KOSSILA
against Finland

The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting on 21 November 2006 as a Chamber composed of:

Sir Nicolas Bratza, President,
Mr J. Casadevall,
Mr M. Pellonpää,
Mr S. Pavlovschi,
Mr L. Garlicki,
Ms L. Mijović,
Mr J. Šikuta, judges,
and Mr T.L. Early, Section Registrar,

Having regard to the above application lodged on 30 April 2003,

Having deliberated, decides as follows:


The applicant, Mr Hannu Kossila, is a Finnish national who was born in 1960 and lives in Pinsainen. He is represented before the Court by Mr Antti Sorjonen, a lawyer practising in Helsinki.

A. The circumstances of the case

The facts of the case, as submitted by the applicant, may be summarised as follows.

On 15 August 1990 the bank granted the applicant a credit in the amount of 29,500,000 Finnish Marks (FIM, about 4,961,543 euros (EUR). The bank’s credit decisions, made without adequate guarantee arrangements, led to its winding-up at the beginning of the 1990s.

The applicant’s suspected fraud in respect of two credit decisions was reported to the police. Various reports of offences had been made against the bank’s employees and debtors.

The applicant was interrogated by the police twice, namely on 22 and 23 February 1993. He was charged with two counts of aggravated fraud.

The hearing of the case, which involved some 30 defendants, began in the Salo District Court (käräjäoikeus, tingsrätten) on 7 March 1995. The court held a total of 68 or 69 hearings, in which 73 witnesses were heard. During the proceedings the applicant requested that the details of the charges be specified.

The judgment was rendered on 24 March 2000 and it ran to almost 900 pages. The District Court rejected the applicant’s claim concerning the allegedly unspecified charges, noting that the proceedings concerned exceptionally large-scale economic offences during which the course of events had been described and specified by the parties involved. The applicant was convicted of an aggravated fraud committed on 15 August 1990. The court found that the applicant had no intention to repay the credit in total, and had thus intentionally deceived the bank. The other count was dismissed. The applicant was sentenced to a suspended term of four months and fifteen days’ imprisonment and a supplementary fine. The court decided to examine the complainant’s (the bank’s successor) claims for damages in separate civil proceedings. Those proceedings are still pending before the national courts.

On 10 August 2000, the applicant as well as other defendants appealed to the Turku Court of Appeal (hovioikeus, hovrätten). Having held an oral hearing, the appellate court gave its judgment on 4 March 2002. It increased the applicant’s sentence to a suspended term of one year and four months’ imprisonment. It stated in its reasons (p. 138) that it had taken the length of the proceedings into account as a mitigating factor in determining the applicant’s and other defendants’ sentence.

On 30 October 2002 the Supreme Court (korkein oikeus, högsta domstolen) refused the complainant and the defendants leave to appeal.


The applicant complains that the length of the criminal proceedings had been incompatible with the “reasonable time” requirement, provided for in Article 6 § 1 of the Convention.

The applicant further complains that he was not informed in detail of the cause of the accusation against him, contrary to Article 6 § 3 (a) and (b) of the Convention. The public prosecutor had failed to adduce grounds for the assertion that the applicant had no intention to repay the credit and he was not able to present evidence in his defence, contrary to Article 6 § 3 (d) of the Convention. The applicant finally complains, relying on Article 6 § 2, that the domestic courts found him criminally liable on grounds which were speculative and thus violated his right to be presumed innocent.


A. Length of the criminal proceedings

The applicant complains under Article 6 § 1 about the length of the criminal proceedings against him. The said Article, in so far as relevant, reads as follows:

“In the determination of ... any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal...”

The Court considers that it cannot, on the basis of the case file, determine the admissibility of this complaint and that it is therefore necessary, in accordance with Rule 54 § 2 (b) of the Rules of Court, to give notice of this part of the application to the respondent Government.

B. The remainder of the application

The applicant further complains under the above cited Article 6 §§ 1, 2 and 3 (a), (b) and (d) that the proceedings had been flawed in some respects. Article 6 §§ 2 and 3 (a), (b) and (d) read as follows:

“2. Everyone charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law.

3. Everyone charged with a criminal offence has the following minimum rights:

(a) to be informed promptly, in a language which he understands and in detail, of the nature and cause of the accusation against him;

(b) to have adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his defence; ...

(d) to examine or have examined witnesses against him and to obtain the attendance and examination of witnesses on his behalf under the same conditions as witnesses against him; ...”

Having regard to the case file, the Court does not find any substantiation of the applicant’s complaints under Article 6 §§ 1, 2 and 3 of the Convention that he had not been informed of the nature and the cause of the accusation or that he had been deprived of an effective opportunity to put forward his defence. Nor is there any indication that the judges had a preconceived attitude towards him concerning his guilt. It follows that this complaint is manifestly ill-founded and must be rejected in accordance with Article 35 §§ 3 and 4 of the Convention.

For these reasons, the Court unanimously

Decides to adjourn the examination of the applicant’s complaint concerning the length of the criminal proceedings;

Declares the remainder of the application inadmissible.

T.L. Early Nicolas Bratza
Registrar President