Several people say they disquieted about Anders Behring Breivik’s psychiatric evaluation verdict today, including the terrorist himself.
The 32-year-old terrorist has feared the report would be “a huge character assassination” for a long time. Police lawyer Christian Hatlo says Breivik was “offended by the court-appointed psychiatrists’ conclusion” after he was told they had found him to be criminally insane.
“It seems as though he didn’t accept it,” he continued from Grønland Police Station, where Breivik was undergoing another interrogation. The mass murderer has stated he believes himself to be sane and fit for trial. He has asked to read a copy of the report.
Counsel for the accused Geir Lippestad, who is currently in the US with Co-Counsel Vibeke Hein Bæra gathering evidence in connection with the criminal case against the mass murderer, says today’s verdict did not surprise him.
Two of Breivik’s victims spoke to NRK today, expressing their feelings about to the news of Breivik’s diagnoses.
“The fact that a person who has tried to kill you and actually killed some of your friends should not be judged in a normal way stirs some inexplicable feelings,” stated Labour Youth (AUF) leader for Telemark, Tim Viskjer, “Initially, I’m surprised and numbed.”
19-year old Eirin Kjær from Balsfjord, Troms County, said, “I was shot several times. I think that when you can plan something like that for so long and be that focused, then, okay, you do have a mental disorder. However, you are not so ill that you don’t know what you are doing.”
“It’s not so important for me whether he is in jail or hospital. The main thing is that he must never be let out again.”
Some politicians were outraged; others had little comment. Head of Parliament’s 22 July committee, a separate group to the independent government-appointed 22 July commission, Knut Arild Hareide, declared, “There are many of us today who are surprised, and certainly feel aggression connected to today’s conclusion". He added, “I think a new assessment would be wise in light of such a controversial decision.”
“I do not want to elaborate on my feelings in relation to it. I note the report and that the final decision about his sanity has not been made yet,” stated Deputy Labour Party (Ap) leader Helge Pedersen.
Erling Johannes Husabø, Professor in Criminal Law at the University of Bergen, said shortly after today’s press conference, “It must have been a special type of psychosis they [the court-appointed psychiatrists] concluded upon considering Breivik was able to act as methodically as he did."
“An insanity decision is usually used for people who have more of a disturbed perception of reality, such as one that results in hallucinations.”
Many lawyers for the aggrieved were also suprised by the report’s decision. Brynjar Meling said to Dagbladet he wanted “a second opinion”, and has written to the Prosecuting Authority requesting the appointment of two new psychiatrists to assess Breivik.
Carl Bore told NRK he was astonished, as many experts have already stated they believe the accused is sane. “At the same time, it’s only those appointed by the Court who have conducted the analysis.”
For now, Breivik has been diagnosed as having paranoid schizophrenia, a chronic mental illness in which a person loses touch with reality.
The 32-year-old mass murderer currently faces the possibility of lifetime of compulsory psychiatric treatment, with reassessments every third year, unless Oslo District Court decides to set the report aside.
Whilst lawyer Ellen Holager Andenæs finds it “inconceivable this man will ever be let out again”, Pål Grøndahl, adult clinical psychology expert, says, “It’s not possible to correct a person with this diagnosis"
“He believes he is always in the right. Moreover, you will be told it is you who are ill when you try to explain the same to the individual.”
Nine specialists on the Ministry of Justice appointed forensic commission are to assess today's report as a matter of standard procedure. Breivik’s trial is scheduled for 16th April next year.
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