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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Breivik prosecutor switches sides

Svein Holden became a familiar face last year not just to Norwegians but to TV viewers around the world, when he helped lead the prosecution of the man who bombed government headquarters in 2011 and massacred 69 persons on the island of Utøya. Now the articulate 39-year-old lawyer is making a major career switch.

Well-known prosecutor Svein Holden is about to become a defense attorney. PHOTO: NRK screen grab/
Well-known prosecutor Svein Holden is about to become a defense attorney. PHOTO: NRK screen grab/

After eight years as a public prosecutor, most famously on the case against mass-murderer Anders Behring Breivik, Holden intends to become a defense attorney after the summer holidays. Newspaper VG reported this week that he’s accepted a new job at the Oslo law firm Hjort.

“The time was ripe to seek new challenges outside of the prosecutor’s office,” Holden told VG. “At Hjort I’ll also get the opportunity to work with other things alongside criminal law. It’s a firm with a lot of clever folks whom I look forward to work with.”

Before that, he’ll still prosecute another major case involving sexual assault, the so-called “Alvdal case,” and deliver some lectures on the Breivik case before heading off on summer holiday.

Jørn Sigurd Maurud of the prosecutor’s office said he’s sorry to see Holden switch sides, telling VG that it will “take time” to build up the competence that will disappear when Holden leaves the prosecutor’s office (påtalemyndigheten).

The lawyers at Hjort, meanwhile, are happy to get Holden on their side.

“Getting him on our team will further strengthen our criminal law department,” Henrik Boehlke, a partner at Advokatfirmaet Hjort, told VG. “His experience with major and complicated cases is unique in Norway. We also want to use his talents better, not just in criminal cases but also in legal procedure and investigations.”

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund

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