Children's entertainer appeals sex abuse conviction at Supreme Court

Supreme Court building in Tartu.
Supreme Court building in Tartu. Source: Supreme Court of Estonia

Lawyers for a former children's entertainer convicted of child sexual abuse ar appealing at the Supreme Court. While the original judgment issued against Vello Loosaar by the first-tier county court has seen some of its aspects overturned at the second-tier circuit court, the bulk of the charges remain.

Loosar, who has maintained he is innocent, said last summer when the allegations first came to light in the media that: "For 26 years, I've been doing TV shows for kids, running kids' events and concerts, learning how to tune myself in with the kids, and doing it well. But I have no sexual interest in children, and my soul is pure."

The alleged acts were from several years ago, while law enforcement agencies only became aware at a later date as the victims had not understood the nature of what had happened at the time.

The first tier Harju County Court found Loosaar, 52, guilty in late February, sentencing him to five years in jail, in suspended sentence, and a requirement to take part in a social program.

The allegations concerned a minor, a girl aged under 10, at the time of the alleged acts.

North District Prosecutor Arika Almann has sought a guilty verdict and a five-year prison sentence, with four months of it consisting of actual jail time and the remainder suspended, with a probationary period over that time.

Defense counsel Ene Mõtte had sought acquittal for her client both for the above charge and charges of the acquisition of child pornography – based on a legal technicality – along with a firearms offense.

The trial was a closed-doors hearing, with no further information made public.

Following an appeal to the second-tier circuit court, the latter overturned the charges relating to child pornography, stating that the law had changed after the alleged activities to include criminal liability for the acquisition of child pornography, in addition to making, storing, sharing, displaying or making it otherwise available to another individual.

Loosaar's sentence remained unchanged, however, and the other convictions remained in place.

The prosecution would have needed to prove that Loosaar had acquired the child pornography after the legislation had been amended, which took place in December 2013, and which, the circuit court found, this had not been satisfied.

Nineteen images and four video files which were connected to the allegations had been created in May 2013, it was found.

Loosaar's defense counsel, Ene Mõtte and Anu Toomemägi, are seeking the full overturning of the original Harju County Court decision and that proportion of the original judgement which the Tallinn Circuit Court upheld, as well as a ruling from the Tartu-based Supreme Court which would either acquit Loosaar or send the case for review by a different judges' bench at the circuit court.

The lawyers have also applied for the waiving of costs to their client, including victim procedural costs, and for these to be covered by the state.

The alleged weapons offense concerns illegal ownership of a smoothbore double-barreled shotgun which had reportedly previously belonged to the accused's father, and possession of a type of ammunition restricted in Estonia.

The weapon and the 19 computer images and four videos were found in the course of a Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) investigation, BNS reports.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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