Norway killer to appeal mental exam ruling

2012-02-03 22:28

Oslo - The Norway gunman who killed 77 people in twin attacks in July will lodge an appeal with the Supreme Court in a bid to avoid a second court-ordered psychiatric exam, his lawyers said on Friday.

An Oslo appeals court had on Thursday upheld a lower court's decision to order a second opinion on Anders Behring Breivik, a 32-year-old right-wing extremist, after a first controversial evaluation found him to be criminally insane.

If that diagnosis is confirmed, he would likely be sentenced to a closed psychiatric ward and not prison.

According to his lawyers, the court is not entitled to call for a second opinion before a trial is held, unless the prosecution calls for one.

In addition, the lawyers opposed the fact that the lower court based its decision in part on classified medical information leaked to the media about Behring Breivik's mental state.

"We feel that issues as important as these need to be untangled by the Supreme Court," his lawyer Geir Lippestad said after consulting with his client who is being held in a high-security prison near Oslo.

"We need a clarification of the distribution of roles between the prosecutor and the judges," he told Norwegian news agency NTB.

Last year, a first examination by two court-appointed psychiatrists concluded that Behring Breivik was paranoid schizophrenic and psychotic, and therefore criminally insane.

The diagnosis sparked a wave of criticism in Norway, where many voiced surprise that he could not be held accountable for his crimes after he spent years planning the massacre and his calm demeanour as he executed his attacks.

On July 22, the man who has claimed to be on a crusade against multi-culturalism and the "Muslim invasion" of Europe set off a car bomb outside government buildings in Oslo, killing eight people.

He then went to Utoya island, some 40km northwest of Oslo, and, dressed as a police officer, spent more than an hour methodically shooting and killing another 69 people, mainly teens, attending a summer camp hosted by the ruling Labour Party's youth wing.

The two new court-appointed psychiatrists are due to present their diagnosis on April 10, just days before the trial opens on April 16.

Ultimately it is the court that will decide whether Behring Breivik is criminally insane.

Read more on:    anders behring breivik  |  norway  |  norway attacks

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