Rune Øygard, the former Labour Party mayor who was convicted of sexually assaulting a young teenaged girl, expressed disappointment on Wednesday when told that Norway’s highest court had rejected his appeal. It will, however, evaluate the length of his prison term.
An appeals court sentenced Øygard last spring to 15 months in prison for repeatedly having sex with the underage girl and both he and the prosecution appealed. Prosecutors claim his sentence was too short, while Øygard continues to claim innocence. A lower court had sentenced him to four years in prison.
The high court won’t hear his appeal of the conviction itself, meaning it will stand, and his defense attorney Mette Yvonne Larsen told state broadcaster NRK that he thinks that was “an uncomfortable message to get.” She said he’s “disappointed that he won’t get the chance to try his case once again. He wants to continue fighting to clear his name.” Larsen wouldn’t elaborate at this point on how he intends to do that.
The attorney for the girl, now age 17, said she was relieved that she won’t need to go through another trial. “She’s been through an enormous ordeal,” attorney Nina Emilie Braathen Hjortdal told NRK. “It’s a major relief that there won’t be another round in court.”