Corruption defendants fight jail terms

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Former top Oslo cop Eirik Jensen and his alleged informer, hash importer Gjermund Cappelen, were gearing up to fight lengthy jail terms sought by prosecutors as their marathon trial ended on Friday. Jensen should be sentenced to Norway’s maximum term of 21 years in prison, prosecutors told the court, while Cappelen should spend 18 years in custody.

The latter “reacted with words I can’t repeat,” Benedict de Vibe, defense attorney for Cappelen, told state broadcaster NRK after closing arguments ended. His client had expected prosecutors would give him much more credit for having served not only as a police informer for Jensen for many years but also for blowing the whistle on Jensen himself, whom prosecutors claim ended up aiding Cappelen in his drug dealing and profiting on it.

Plea bargaining failed
Cappelen’s hopes for plea bargaining were dashed when he only got three years discounted from the maximum prison sentence. In addition come claims for NOK 825 million to be paid to the state to offset Cappelen’s allegedly ill-gotten gains over the years.

The prosecutors claimed there was no other reason to lessen the punishment for either Jensen or Cappelen. Jensen was indicted for grave dereliction of duty as a police officer and for aiding the import of nearly 14 tons of hash into Norway. In addition to the 21-year prison term, prosecutors want the court to order Jensen to pay NOK 2.45 million to the state that he allegedly received from Cappelen.

After Jensen rolled his eyes and quickly left the courtroom, his defense attorney John Christian Elden told reporters that the proposed jail term wasn’t unexpected but will be fought if Jensen is convicted. Elden cited a lack of concrete evidence tying Jensen to Cappelen and claimed that “Eirik Jensen is clear in his claim that he’s innocent.”

No winners
Cappelen, meanwhile, has admitted to his long career as a hash smuggler but claims he deserved a much more lenient jail term.

There can be no winners in the case against Jensen, which has rocked the Oslo Police District since Cappelen was first arrested in December 2013 and later implicated Jensen. If Jensen is convicted, the scandal of a corrupt cop will be complete. If he’s acquitted, the police prosecutors will themselves lose prestige and the force will be split among those who have supported Jensen and those who haven’t. A ruling isn’t expected until after the summer holidays.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund