Estonia's top court revokes acquittal of man who sent threatening SMS messages from Greece

  • 2022-12-30
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – The Supreme Court of Estonia on Friday overturned a decision by the 2nd tier Tartu Circuit Court acquitting a man charged with sending two threatening text messages to a victim in Estonia from Greece three years ago.

The top court disagreed with the circuit court's stance that since the criminality of threatening under Greek law is not proven, the accused must be acquitted.

"By sending a threatening text message to the victim's phone, the person also acts at the victim's location, and the place of the commission of the act is not limited to the place where he or she sent the text message," the Supreme Court stated in its judgment. The Supreme Court sent the case back to the Tartu Circuit Court for a new hearing by a different judicial panel.

The Supreme Court has previously held that if it becomes clear in court proceedings that the crime was committed in another country, and the criminality of the act in the foreign country is not ascertained in the proceedings, the court must give the parties to the proceedings an opportunity to present additional evidence.

On Jan. 18 this year, the Tartu County Court found Friedrich Meinhard Rudissaar guilty of making a threat and handed him a suspended sentence of six months' imprisonment with one year's probation. The county court found that the threat was committed in Estonia because the victim was in Estonia when the messages were received and read. 

The county court's verdict was challenged in the appellate court by Rudissaar's attorney, who requested that the verdict be annulled and the accused acquitted. On Aug. 30, the Tartu Circuit Court annulled the county court's decision and acquitted Rudissaar. The district court stated that the place where the accused acted must be considered the place of the commission of the act. 

According to the charges, on May 23, 2019, Rudissaar sent two threatening text messages to the victim's phone number.