Teuvo Hokkanen was a farmer. He and his wife had a daughter, Sini. Two years later Teuvo’s wife died. Sini’s maternal grandparents then looked after her. According to Teuvo, this was a temporary arrangement whilst he dealt with problems caused by his wife’s death.
Soon afterwards, Sini’s grandparents told Teuvo that they did not intend to give her back to him. Legal disputes took place over custody of the child, lasting for seven years. During this time, the grandparents refused to let Teuvo have any contact with Sini. Teuvo obtained court rulings ordering there to be meetings – but they were not enforced.
Eventually the courts decided that it was in Sini’s best interests to stay with her grandparents.