Norway’s Breivik stands firm on sanity claims

He anticipates being held in isolation in prison for the foreseeable future, where he would be able to write essays books and coordinate with far-right networks from his prison cell.

Breivik’s comments were reported by a team of court-appointed psychiatrists giving evidence on Monday, who have contradicted the diagnosis of two previous psychiatrists that he suffered from paranoid schizophrenia.

Terje Torrissen and Agnar Aspaas were asked to carry out a second assessment of Brevik’s mental culpability after the first examination diagnosing Breivik’s “psychosis” was leaked to the media triggering outrage.

The court was also told how Breivik had claimed to have received a steady stream of admiring fanmail including declarations of love from women and girls as young as 16. He added he had also received hate mail.

Torrissen and Aspaas, the final witnesses to give evidence in the trial of Breivik – who has admitted the murders and insists that he is sane – have said they had found no evidence of “psychosis”.

According to the two experts, Breivik said claims he had made in his assessment by the first two psychiatrists had been misunderstood or exaggerated.

One of the “presentational errors” he believes he made in his early conversations with police and psychiatrists was his emphasis on his position in and membership of the Knights Templar organisation.

Explaining his use of self-coined titles to describe himself in his “manifesto” – including “justiciar-knight” – Breivik explained that other terrorist groups gave themselves titles. 

Contradicting the first psychiatric assessment, Terrisson and Aspaas told the court that far from showing a decline in “functionality” in the period leading up to his twin gun and bomb attacks last July, he appeared to be functioning despite his isolation at his mother’s house.

Supporting this claim they quoted Breivik, who said he still felt he had a “choice” not to commit the attacks even as he drove his carbomb to Oslo’s government district on July 22.

While Synne Sørheim and Torgeir Husby found Breivik “grandiose and suffering from paranoid delusions” including the belief his manifesto could “automatically” radicalise anyone who read it, Terrisson and Aspaas found him “groomed, alert, focused, although emotionally neutral with few signs of persecution, neologisms and no hallucinations”.

To find Breivik insane – and not culpable under the penal code – the court must rule that he was suffering from a psychotic illness as opposed to a severe personality disorder.

Criticising the first psychiatric team, Breivik told the second that they had no specialist knowledge of international terrorism and said that Japanese or South Korean psychiatrists should have been appointed because of their strong “honour code”. – © Guardian News and Media 2012 

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

Boko Haram exports reign of terror

The militant group is said to have invaded Cameroonian towns, sparking fears that it is expanding into neighbouring countries.

Hunt for habitable planets hots up

The discovery of 55 Cancri e means ground-based telescopes could be used to find new "super-Earths".

Beyonce new album rumours get quashed

Following rumours that Beyonce would release a second surprise album, her representative says the US singer will release a boxset of her 2013 album.

Sudanese woman spared death sentence for apostasy arrives in Italy

Meriam Ibrahim, whose death sentence was overturned after international outcry, has arrived with her husband and two children in Italy.

Great soul: Bobby Womack dies at 70

The soul artist who worked with musicians such as Sam Cooke, Damon Albarn and Gorillaz has died after a career spanning nearly six decades.

US student rescued from giant vagina sculpture in Germany

A young American in Tübingen had to be rescued by 22 firefighters after getting trapped inside a giant sculpture of a vagina.

Subscribers only

Covid-19 surges in the Eastern Cape

With people queuing for services, no water, lax enforcement of mask rules and plenty of partying, the virus is flourishing once again, and a quarter of the growth is in the Eastern Cape

Ace prepares ANC branches for battle

ANC secretary general Ace Magashule is ignoring party policy on corruption-charged officials and taking his battle to branch level, where his ‘slate capture’ strategy is expected to leave Ramaphosa on the ropes

More top stories

Journey through anxious Joburg

A new book has collected writing about the condition of living, yes, with a high crime rate, but also other, more pervasive existential urban stresses particular to the Global South

Football legend Maradona dies

The Argentinian icon died at his home on Wednesday, two weeks after having surgery on a blood clot in his brain

Covid vaccines: Hope balanced with caution

As Covid vaccines near the manufacturing stage, a look at two polio vaccines provides valuable historical insights

Under cover of Covid, Uganda targets LGBTQ+ shelter

Pandemic rules were used to justify a violent raid on a homeless shelter in Uganda, but a group of victims is pursuing a criminal case against the perpetrators

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…