Norway judge orders new mental exam for killer
Source : Reuters | 13 Jan 2012
An Oslo court on Friday named two psychiatrists to conduct a new examination of Anders Behring Breivik, the anti-Islam militant who killed 77 people last year, in an effort to end inflamed national debate over an initial report that found him psychotic.
Breivik has admitted detonating a bomb at a government building in Oslo that killed eight people and gunning down 69 more at an island summer camp for Labour Party youths in July.
If the court ultimately agrees with a finding that Breivik is psychotic, he will almost certainly be placed into a secured psychiatric institution rather than in prison.
"The extremely serious nature of the case dictates that additional questions should be investigated further," Oslo District Court Judge Wenche Elizabeth Arntzen told a news conference.
"It seldom hurts to have more light shed on a case," she added, noting that a mental health specialist who has treated Breivik in prison had publicly disagreed with the court-appointed experts who declared on Nov. 29 he was psychotic.
Breivik has said via his lawyer that he would refuse to cooperate, but the judge said that was not relevant to the decision.
Dozens of survivors and others affected by Breivik's bombing and mass shooting have demanded a new evaluation, arguing that only someone in control of his faculties could have carried out the systematic attacks.
Breivik has said he set out to punish what he called pro-immigration "traitors".
The 32-year-old Oslo native is set to stand trial from April 16 regardless of his mental state.
Assuming he is found guilty, court officials said, it will be up to a trial-judge panel to decide whether Breivik goes to prison for up to 21 years -- the maximum prison sentence in Norway -- or to a locked psychiatric facility.
Medical opinions weigh heavily in Norwegian legal system. Prosecutors had said they intended to request treatment rather than punishment following the initial diagnosis.