Lawyers reject new review of Breivik’s sanity

Prosecution and defence officials rejected a second opinion on Wednesday on the mental health of Anders Behring Brevik, the gunman behind Norway's twin attacks on July 22nd whom experts have found criminally insane.

Lawyers reject new review of Breivik's sanity

Lawyers representing some of Behring Brevik's 77 victims have called for a second psychiatric evaluation.

But in a letter released by the Oslo district court, lawyers for the 32-year-old right-wing extremist said they and their client were opposed to a new evaluation being conducted.

"There is already a very detailed forensic medical evaluation of the accused," lawyer Vibeke Hein Baera said.

In a separate letter, the two prosecutors in the case also said a new assessment was "not necessary".

On November 29th, two psychiatrists appointed by the Oslo court concluded that Behring Breivik suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and that he could not be held criminally accountable for his actions.

Given that, Behring Breivik is expected to be sentenced to psychiatric care in a closed ward instead of going to jail.

The conclusions caused outrage in Norway, upsetting victims and the public who noted that Behring Breivik planned the attacks in detail for several years and spent almost an hour and a half coldly shooting dozens of young people.

On July 22nd, he first set off a car bomb outside government buildings in Oslo, killing eight people.

He then went to the island of Utøya, some 40 kilometres north-west of Oslo, where, disguised as a police officer, he methodically shot and killed another 69 people attending a summer camp, most of them teenagers.

The killings were the deadliest attacks committed in Norway since World War II, and profoundly shocked the normally tranquil nation.

Although he has confessed to the facts, Behring Breivik has refused to plead guilty, claiming he was waging a war and that his actions were "atrocious but necessary."

He has said he was on a crusade against multi-culturalism and the "Muslim invasion" of Europe.

According to television news channel TV2, three psychologists and a psychiatrist monitoring Behring Breivik in prison have denied seeing any signs of paranoid schizophrenia.

The Oslo court is expected to decide in mid-January whether there will be a new psychiatric evaluation.

The trial is due to open on April 16th.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Kongsberg attacker killed victims with ‘sharp object’

Norwegian police said Monday that the five victims of last week's attack were killed by a "sharp object" used by the suspect, not a bow and arrows.

The Kongsberg attacker is said to have killed five people with sharp objects. Pictured is police tape from a separate incident.
The Kongsberg attacker is said to have killed five people with sharp objects. Pictured is police tape from a separate incident. Photo by Søren Storm Hansen on Flickr.

“At some point he discarded or lost his bow and arrows,” police inspector Per Thomas Omholt told reporters.

He said that during the attack on Wednesday the suspect killed “five people with a sharp object both in private addresses and in public spaces”.

Police, who had previously said that the suspect Espen Andersen Brathen was armed with a bow and arrows and two other weapons, did not specify the nature of the sharp weapons, adding that they were still interviewing witnesses.

“Everything points to the victims being selected at random,” Omholt said.

According to the police, more than 10 people were also shot at with arrows at the start of the attack, but none were killed with this weapon.

READ MORE: Norway police query Kongsberg attacker’s Muslim faith

During police questioning, Brathen has confessed to the killings and to wounding three others.

The 37-year-old Danish citizen has announced publicly that he is a convert to Islam and initially police reported that there had been fears of radicalisation.

He is however being kept in a medical facility pending a psychiatric evaluation, which is necessary to determine whether Brathen can be held legally responsible for his actions.

“As far as motive is concerned, illness remains the main hypothesis. And as far as conversion to Islam is concerned, this hypothesis is weakened,” Omholt added.

On Saturday, police announced the identities of the five victims, four women and one man: Andrea Meyer, 52, Hanne Merethe Englund, 56, Liv Berit Borge, 75, Gunnar Erling Sauve, 75 and Gun Marith Madsen, 78.