Breivik declared criminally insane and may avoid jail

 

NORWEGIAN MASS killer Anders Behring Breivik may avoid jail but end up in a psychiatric institution indefinitely after court-appointed experts concluded he is criminally insane, prosecutors said yesterday.

In Norway’s worst attacks since the second World War, Breivik killed 77 people in July by bombing central Oslo and then gunning down dozens, mostly teenagers, at a summer camp of the ruling Labour Party’s youth wing.

Prosecutors said a psychiatric report on Breivik, a self-declared anti-immigration militant, showed he believed he had staged “the executions” out of love for “his people”. “The conclusion . . . is that he is insane,” prosecutor Svein Holden told a news conference on the psychiatrists’ report. “He lives in his own delusional universe and his thoughts and acts are governed by this universe.”

The prosecutors, Svien Holden and Inga Bejer Engh, concluded that Breivik was insane and has been suffering from “paranoid schizophrenia” which is ongoing.

Their 243-page forensic diagnostic report was carried out by court-appointed psychiatrists Torgeir Husby and Synne Sørheim.

The comprehensive document is based on 13 long conversations with Breivik, talks with his mother, analysis of his childhood, video footage research and an assessment of witness interviews.

The main conclusions are that Breivik is paranoid schizophrenic with “bizarre and grandiose delusions”. He has stated that he committed the “executions out of love for his people”. He has also referred to himself as “the most perfect knight” and put himself forward as “the future regent of Norway and Europe”.

He referred to a “breeding project” for a reserve army of followers. He is fixated on the idea that “his organisation, the Knights Templar, will take over power in Europe”.

Under Norwegian law. a person is deemed to be criminally insane if it is assessed that he or she was in a state of unconsciousness or psychosis when committing a criminal act. In such an instance, a person suffering from a serious mental disorder cannot be convicted and given a sentence which is considered to be unwarrantable.

The prosecutors confirmed though that a person who has committed a serious crime, as Breivik has, is deemed to be “dangerous” and may be sentenced to compulsory psychiatric care.

If the psychiatric assessment of insanity is upheld, Breivik would not face a criminal trial. Instead, a hearing would rule on criminal insanity and commitment to a psychiatric institution.

A sentence entailing transfer to a psychiatric institution must be extended every three years and it is for the court to decide if the sentence is to be upheld.

In practice though, Breivik is expected to be ordered to stay in a mental health institution and be required to receive psychiatric treatment for the rest of his life. – (Additional reporting by Reuters)