First of all, no, this isn’t a joke. (Well, the justice system must be a joke, but this did actually happen.) And second of all, no, this didn’t happen in the United States. It happened in Finland.
Here’s what had happened. A few months ago in April, a man from Hyvinkää – a town not far from the Finnish capital of Helsinki – heard a knock on his door, and when he unlocked it, three intruders barged in. There were two men, and one woman, and they were armed with baseball bats and a gun.
The homeowner ran to his kitchen and grabbed a knife and was actually able to fend off all three of them. But little did he know that his self-defensive actions would have severe consequences.
It took almost four months for the court to decide what to do. As it turned out, the homeowner now has to spend four years and two months in prison for “excessive self-defense and attempted manslaughter.” In addition, he has to pay the equivalent of about $23,000 in damages to the home intruders.
If that wasn’t bad enough, the armed intruders – who were convicted of “felony home invasion and assault” – received lesser penalties. Each of them has to serve a year and two months of a conditional sentence, meaning that they can serve their time outside of prison. It’s not unlike house arrest or probation. And as for their fine, the three had to pay a combined total of about $3,300 in damages to the homeowner.
What exactly would the court have wanted the homeowner to do in that situation that wouldn’t have warranted such penalties? Just let the intruders do to him whatever they had intended? I think they would have preferred that the homeowner let himself be a victim, even if that meant getting killed.