No prosecution appeal in Bodom murder case
Nils Gustafsson is finally a free man who will not have to face further charges over the Bodom Lake triple killings.
The prosecutors of the case announced on Thursday that they do not intend to appeal the verdict announced by the Espoo District Court on Friday last week . The decision implies that as far as Gustafsson is concerned the case is closed and the acquittal is valid.
"The National Bureau of Investigation [NBI, Finland's central criminal police] has conducted a thorough preliminary investigation, and the defendant has been given a fair hearing in the District Court", prosecutors Heli Haapalehto and Tom Ifström noted.
They accept the verdict, even though they argue that the court did not pay any attention to the facts that spoke in support of the indictment. After all, the verdict stressed particularly the facts that indicated why Gustafsson could not have been the perpetrator.
"We regard it as likely that the re-evaluation of the presented evidence would not convince the Court of Appeal to convict Gustafsson without any reasonable doubt", the prosecutors concluded.
In effect, this implies that the prosecutors believe in Gustafsson's acquittal even by the Court of Appeal.
Furthermore, the prosecutors see also the human rights aspect. Therefore, it would not be appropriate to continue the hearing at the Court of Appeal, as such a long time has passed since the crime took place.
Heikki Lampela, the lawyer representing some families of the victims, does not intend to appeal, either, as he does not believe that there are grounds for appeal over the evidence's being insufficient to convict Gustafsson of the killings.
In fact, Nils Gustafsson was waiting for the outcome of the hearing "with a noose hanging loose around his neck" since April last year, when he was remanded for trial - a period of more than 18 months.
His defence lawyer Heikki Uotila reported that Nils Gustafsson was now relieved and very happy with the prosecutors' decision.
Gustafsson is now entitled to apply for compensation for wrongful imprisonment as well as for the ban on travel that was imposed on him.
Gustafsson plans to continue his life in retirement among his family and friends. He does not intend to comment on the matter in public, even though he has received offers from the media.
According to NBI Detective Chief Superintendent Tero Haapala, there is no reason to continue investigating the Bodom Lake case for the time being, as there is no new evidence and maybe never will be. After all, a long time - 45 years - has passed since the notorious killings took place.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Court finds Gustafsson not guilty of 1960 Bodom Lake triple murder (7.10.2005)