Sun, Jan 15, 2012 - Page 12 News List

Court orders new psychiatric review of Norway shooter


A Norwegian court on Friday ordered a new psychiatric evaluation of confessed mass killer Anders Behring Breivik, after an earlier report found him legally insane.

Judge Wenche Elizabeth Arntzen said in Oslo the new evaluation was necessary considering widespread criticism of the initial findings, which suggested Breivik should be sent to psychiatric care instead of prison.

The 32-year-old Norwegian has confessed to a bomb and shooting spree on July 22 that killed 77 people and traumatized the peaceful Scandinavian country.

Breivik denies criminal guilt, saying he is a commander of a resistance movement aiming to overthrow European governments and replace them with “patriotic” regimes that would deport Muslim immigrants.

Investigators have found no sign of such a movement and say Breivik most likely plotted and carried out the attacks on his own.

Arntzen said two Norwegian psychiatrists — Agnar Aspaas and Terje Toerrisen — had been appointed for the new evaluation.

However, Breivik does not want to talk to them because he does not believe they will understand him any better than the experts who interviewed him for the first assessment, defense lawyer Geir Lippestad, told reporters after speaking to his client in prison.

Lippestad also said that the defense team was skeptical about a new evaluation because the first assessment was leaked to Norwegian media.

“We want evidence to be presented in court and not in the media,” Lippestad told Norwegian broadcaster NRK.

Before the court’s decision, Breivik rejected the need for a new evaluation in a motion filed by Lippestad.

The first court-ordered assessment found Breivik was psychotic during the attacks, which would make him mentally unfit to be convicted and imprisoned for the country’s worst peacetime massacre.

Prosecutors said that report, submitted in November, describes Breivik as a paranoid schizophrenic living in a “delusional universe.”

That conclusion drew criticism from many outside experts, who questioned whether someone who was suffering from a grave mental illness could carry out such a well-planned attack.

Arntzen also said that staff at Ila prison in Oslo, where Breivik is being held in pretrial detention, say they have not observed any signs suggesting he is psychotic.

“These circumstances point toward letting independent experts conduct a new evaluation of the suspect’s accountability,” Arntzen said.

Breivik has told investigators he set off the fertilizer bomb that ripped through Oslo’s government district on July 22, killing eight people. He then opened fire at the summer camp of the governing Labor Party’s youth wing on the island of Utoeya, where 69 people were killed before he surrendered to a SWAT team.

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