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Prosecutors won’t seek new psychiatric evaluation of Breivik

The two prosecutors who will handle the state’s case against confessed terrorist Anders Behring Breivik said Wednesday they won’t seek a new psychiatric evaluation of him. An earlier evaluation conducted by court-appointed psychiatrists declared Breivik to be insane, and therefore unable to be punished.

Prosecutors Svein Holden and Inga Bejer Engh appear to have accepted the insanity determination, when they delivered their response to the evaluation. Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported that they wrote, in a letter to the court, that they won’t ask for a new psychiatric report.

‘No reason’ to cast more doubt
“We have gone through what has been done in the case and we can’t see any basis for going deeper into it,” Engh stated. “Two experienced court-appointed psychiatrists have made a thorough declaration that been accepted by the forensic medical commission. We see no reason to cast doubt on their stamp of approval.”

They also said that additional doubt about Breivik’s mental state would only be to his advantage. Breivik himself disputed the declaration of insanity, but reportedly has since accepted it on the advice of counsel. Breivik also has reportedly claimed that he wouldn’t submit to further psychiatric examination.

The Oslo City Court had asked both sides in the case against Breivik to say whether they wanted the court to appoint new psychiatrists to evaluate Breivik’s mental state. Breivik’s defense counsel hasn’t asked for a new evaluation either.

Huge debate
The insanity declaration by psychiatrists Torgeir Husby and Synne Sørheim unleashed huge debate that’s continued for weeks. They concluded Breivik is paranoid schizophrenic and psychotic, meaning he can’t legally be held accountable for his actions that included bombing Norway’s government headquarters in Oslo and carrying out a massacre on an island that was the site of the Labour Party’s summer camp. Breivik killed 77 persons during his roughly three-hour crime spree, which he had carefully planned in advance.

The planning alone, which involved acquiring massive amounts of explosives, building a powerful bomb and strategically plotting the chain of events, prompted massive criticism of the psychiatrists’ declaration. Many witnesses to and victims of Breivik’s attacks contend he was cold and calculated and knew exactly what he was doing. They want to see him imprisoned for the rest of his life.

Several legal experts have said it’s likely Breivik will continue to be held in custody, both in a psychiatric institution and, if ever declared healthy, in prison. His trial begins on April 16.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund

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