A suitable crime category will be devised.

Stalin is quoted to have said something like "There are no innocent people, only people who have not yet been investigated thoroughly enough." I don't know if Stalin ever really said that, but his regime certainly worked based on that principle to the maximum effect.

Now the police in Turku has started to work along the same lines: first they decided that an act is a crime, and then they applied a law paragraph that is the closest match, although it doesn't quite fit.

A man in Turku was fined and sentenced to lose his camera to the state for photographing women's fannies in a public place.

Some people found the man's behaviour creepy. That is understandable.

However, I find even creepier the fact that the police did not really know which law was being broken, so they used the Criminal Law Chapter 17 § 21, "indecent behaviour" to give fines and confiscate the man's camera. I don't quite see how taking photographs in a public place is indecent. The law text doesn't fit this act. Nor does the background work as published by the parliament. To the contrary, so far it's been a human right, and the Chancellor of Justice has repeatedly issued statements where he asserts that it is permitted to take photographs in public places - also when the subject of the photo (e.g. a guard at a mall) would not like to be photographed. (Publishing the photographs is a completely different matter, but here that wasn't the issue.)

Another thing then is that the journalist in HS are about as clueless as usual when they say things like "the police sentenced the man to lose his camera to the state". The police cannot sentence the man; it is up to a court of law. The police can issue a paper called "rangaistusvaatimus", effectively a statement of prosecution, to which you can plead guilty and agree to pay a fine, but that is not a sentence. Sentences only come out from courts.

There's a generic principle which has a fine Latin name, Nulla poena sine lege: there can be no crime committed, and no punishment meted out, without a violation of penal law as it existed at the time.

Although this is a marginal case, it's slightly worrying that the law is applied like this. The paragraph about "indecent behaviour" is meant to cover things like showing an unclothed fanny in a public place. It's not about photographing clothed fannies in a public place.

However, if we agree that photographing women's fannies in a public place really is indecent, the first one to be prosecuted shouldn't be a creep from Turku, but a journalist of Iltalehti whose main feature about the new prime minister in the country was her backside.

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