Mary Kross, wife of Reform Party MP Eerik-Niiles Kross, is facing charges for giving false evidence concerning an incident at Tallinn's Stroomi beach in November last year. Kross at the time reported that two men had thrown rocks at her. The story was first published by entrepreneur Karoli Hindriks in an opinion piece and at the time quickly gained traction on social media.
The North Prefecture of the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) has filed against Mary Kross, for giving false evidence.
According to the statement of charges, Kross, 49, knowingly gave false testimony, alleging that she fell victim of an attack.
Kross claimed that the attack took place on Nov. 27, 2018 as she was walking her dog in Tallinn's Stroomi beach area. Kross, herself American, said that she spoke English on the phone, which prompted two men nearby to throw rocks at her and shout, "Go home, foreigner, go home."
One of the men wore a t-shirt with the logo of the Conservative Party of Estonia (EKRE) on it, Kross claimed.
The police investigated the incident, but did not find any evidence supporting Kross' claims. Video recordings from security cameras in the area did not indicate that Kross had driven to the beach, and the location of her mobile phone at the time did not corroborate her allegations, either.
According to district prosecutor Ülle Jaanhold, there is sufficient proof to charge Kross with giving false evidence. "All evidence gathered indicates that the accused was not in the area at the time," Jaanhold said.
The story gained traction in late November 2018, when entrepreneur Karoli Hindriks posted a story on her social media page alleging that an American woman, who Hindriks said was a friend, had been out walking her dog in Tallinn and speaking on her phone, presumably in English. Two Estonian men supposedly threw rocks at both the woman and the dog, injuring both, while exhorting the victim to go home, again in English. Hindriks stated that the alleged victim related the incident to her in a phone call.
Kross reportedly went to the PPA a day after Hindriks' social media post. The ensuing investigation, including security camera footage analysis, mobile phone analysis, witness statements and interviews with the alleged victim gave nothing to suggest a legitimate case, authorities said at the time.
In light of the incident, police recommended at the time people ensure that information including anecdotes of this kind is true and accurate, before sharing it on social media.
Hindriks' opinion piece, entitled "Estonia has become angry," appeared in online magazine Estonian World on Dec. 16 last year and gained traction on Facebook very quickly. Hindriks later removed the original social media post.
Editor: Dario Cavegn