Monday, April 16, 2012

Norway killer claims self-defense

OSLO, Norway (AP) — With a defiant closed-fist salute, a right-wing fanatic admitted Monday to a bomb-and-shooting massacre that killed 77 people in Norway but pleaded not guilty to criminal charges, saying he was acting in self-defense.
Fortunately, Norway's statutes do not mirror those of Florida, or else the courts would probably be forced to acquit. [Rimshot.]


  1. His defence lawyer was quoted in a Norwegian newspaper last week:

    "To Dagbladet, the defence team makes it clear that they will do as their client wishes: Claim that he should be acquitted because he believes he has acted in preventive self-defense.

    - Technically, we have no no choice but noting his arguments about why he did what he did. We of course understand that will not succeed, but we are obliged to present his arguments. What we are going to do is ask questions that give him the opportunity to explain what he means. Then it is our job as defence lawyers to claim of acquittal, as he wishes , on the basis that he acted in self-defense, says Lippestad."

  2. They have little choice! Does Norway allow counsel to argue insanity against a client's wishes?

  3. That is a good question, but as a mere layman I have no idea what the answer is. I will try to ask around...

    There seems to be a problem in the translation, he claimed "he acted out of necessity and could justify his attacks". (As I am not a lawyer, and English is not my first language, it is a bit hard to tell if the difference makes sense when translated. Taken from )

    I have also been somewhat surprised and pleased, to see the high level of understanding in the media and among the general public for the job Lippestad does. He has managed to distance himself from the opinions of Breivik and at the same time presents his clients views in an understandable way and seemed like a professional. Just the kind of person you would hope to find in any courtroom.

  4. That sounds much better than the partisan frenzy in the U.S. over law firms' providing counsel to "war on terror" defendants.

    I don't practice criminal law, but I recall that the "Unabomber" defendant opposed his counsel's effort to plead insanity for him, and IIRC he won the right to dismiss them and control his defense. I think the court appointed a neutral psychiatrist who evaluated him and found him competent to stand trial.

  5. Wasn't the shooter already determined to be sane by the legal process there? -PMS

  6. Wikipedia sounds ambiguous on that, PMS:

    Breivik was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia by the court-appointed psychiatrists. According to their report, Breivik acted compulsively based on a delusional thought universe. Among other things, he alluded to himself as a future regent of Norway pending a takeover by a Templar-like organization. Imagining himself as regent, his ideas included organizing Norwegians in reservations and using them in breeding projects.[12] Other psychiatrists disagree that he is psychotic or schizophrenic,[13] and on 13 January 2012, after much public pressure, the Oslo district court ordered a second expert panel to evaluate Breivik's mental state.[14] On 10 April 2012 the second psychiatric evaluation was published with the conclusion that Breivik was not psychotic during the attacks and he was not psychotic during their evaluation.

    Sounds like the court didn't get the "right" answer the first time?

    1. Probably a fair assessment! I saw the headline go by the other day, hence my uncertainty. --PMS