Aleksanteri Kivimäki faces several years in prison – this is how experts assess the sentence

Criminal law professors consider the prison sentence received by Alexandri Kivimaki, who was convicted of Vastamo's data breach, too harsh.

The Länsi-Uusimaa District Court sentenced 26-year-old Aleksanteri Tomminpoika Kivimäki to six years and three months in prison for the data breach of Vastaamo Psykoterapikeskus.

Kivimaki was charged with aggravated data breach, aggravated attempted intimidation, 9,231 counts of aggravated dissemination of information infringing privacy, 20,745 counts of aggravated menacing and 20 counts of aggravated extortion.

Iltalehti asked Kimmo Nuvotio and Zachary Melander, professors of criminal law at the University of Helsinki, to evaluate the punishment of the exceptional crimes group.

“All or Nothing”

The district court's bulletin said none of the evidence presented in the case proved that Kiwimaki was guilty of the crimes described in the indictment. On the other hand, no evidence excludes Kiwimaki's guilt.

In his long career, Kimmo Nuotio had never seen a similar punishment before. He also describes the offense as “really unique.”

Kimmo Nuvotio suspects that Vastamo's data breach will be more challenging for criminal investigators. Ari Aalto / University of Helsinki

— Of course there is no specific thing that can connect him to this, but the whole is formed by the combination of fragments.

According to Nuvotio, it's an “all or nothing” type of situation.

– If it cannot be proved that Kiwimaki was behind this, practically all charges should have been dropped.

– The lawyers got enough evidence behind them and the explanation was sufficient for the court. All charges were accepted.

Nuotio assesses that the case was a challenge not only for the authorities but also for the court.

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Particularly reprehensible

Prosecutors sought the maximum sentence of seven years in prison for Kiwimaki. The district court found 6 years and 7 months to be a reasonable sentence.

Zachary Melander thinks the punishment is too harsh.

– It had a lot of action, which is on the higher end of the scale. In this regard, the district court finds these actions particularly reprehensible, Melander says.

The final sentence was 6 years and 3 months. The district court considered as a mitigating factor the fact that Kivimaki had begun agreeing to conditional settlements with thousands of interested parties who had submitted claims for compensation.

– The sentence is slightly reduced as Kiwimaki agreed to discuss compensation and cooperated in these matters.

Would the prison sentence have been less if he had pleaded guilty at the preliminary hearing?

– It may have had little effect on the verdict. However, the line of defense was to believe that the evidence was insufficient, Kimmo Nuotio says.

Melander also believes that admissions would have reduced the sentence somewhat.

– In any case, there would have been talk of substantial imprisonment.

Advertising discount

Kiwimegi requested that the district court also take into account the extensive media publicity the case received as a mitigating factor in sentencing. The district court denied the request.

Criminal justice professors are on the same side of justice.

– It should not have surprised anyone that such a broad issue is being discussed so much in public, says Melander.

– It became clear that this crime would get huge publicity. That's not surprising, says Nuotio.

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– The worst thing that can happen is that someone manages to get patient data from a large group and tries to threaten the company and customers in various ways.

“Too irresponsible”

Sakari Melander considers Kiwimaki's prison sentence harsh. Press photo / Jussi Nugari

The district court's bulletin states that the court described the act as ruthless, not only because of the severity of the harsh imprisonment measures and the manner in which they were carried out, but also because of Kiwimeki's “extremely reckless attitude.”

– Melander says that this is sensitive information of many people and its dissemination was carried out irresponsibly.

Melander holds that the district court weighed the evidence and disposed of the case fully and comprehensively.

– I could imagine that this matter will still go to the Court of Appeal, Melander says.

– If the appellate court grants permission for further processing, a certain type of overall assessment of the evidence presented in the case will be a decisive factor in the appellate court.

Kiwimegi has denied his guilt throughout the trial and court proceedings. He immediately expressed dissatisfaction with the district court's decision.

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