Killer’s mental health in Norway’s spotlight again

A new psychiatric appraisal due Tuesday was expected to shed more light upon whether Anders Behring Breivik, who faces trial on charges of killing 77 people in Norway last year, is accountable for his actions.

The appraisal was commissioned by the Oslo district court, which said it wanted a second opinion after an initial report in November concluded that Breivik was legally insane and suffering from paranoid schizophrenia.

The initial report was backed by a panel of psychiatrists and psychologists from the Norwegian Board of Forensic Medicine. But other experts have questioned the diagnosis, which suggested Breivik would be held in a secure psychiatric unit if he is convicted.

Breivik has — via his attorneys and in a recent open letter to, among others, Oslo newspaper VG — maintained that he is sane and was adamant that he does not agree with the assessments in the first report.

In his open letter, he said that being committed to a psychiatric ward would be a fate “worse than death”.

The 33-year-old Breivik has also instructed his defence to argue that he was accountable for his actions at his pending trial, due to open April 16.

The new assessment was based on interviews with Breivik and observations conducted around the clock at the prison where he is in custody.

Breivik has admitted to detonating a bomb in a government district in Oslo that killed eight people on July 22, and later shooting dead 69 at a Labour Party summer camp on an island near the capital.

He said his actions were designed to punish the government for its pro-immigration policies. — Sapa

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories


Subscribers only

How smuggled gold destined for Dubai or Singapore has links...

Three Malagasy citizens were apprehended at OR Tambo International airport, but now the trail is found to connect to France and Mali

How lottery execs received dubious payments through a private company

The National Lottery Commission is being investigated by the SIU for alleged corruption and maladministration, including suspicious payments made to senior NLC employees between 2016 and 2017

More top stories

R2.3bn VBS trial expected to only begin in 2022

The state is expected to request a 16 week-long trial, as delays stymie progress in the saga.

Spy boss tells how agency was used to detain Zuma’s...

Day two of State Security Agency testimony at the Zondo commission birthed more revelations that point to the former head of state and agents breaking the law

Covax will take excess doses of Covid vaccines off the...

The global initiative plans to deliver two billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines to developing nations

Eastern Cape citizens don’t have to visit the labour department...

This measure, aimed at slowing the spread of Covid-19, may shortly be introduced in other regions.

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…