The transcript of a lengthy and reportedly “sensitive” interrogation that Oslo police held with convicted mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik after his arrest in 2011 was allegedly stolen about a month later from the locked office where it has been stored at the city’s main police station. Newspaper Dagsavisen reported that Breivk’s defense attorneys were not informed that the transcript suddenly disappeared.
“This is completely new for us,” attorney Geir Lippestad, who led the defense of the man who killed 77 persons during his attacks against the Norwegian Labour Party and government on July 22, 2011, told Dagsavisen on Friday. “We expect as defense counsel that we’d be told if a 42-page transcript from the questioning of our client is stolen.”
Contained chilling details of Breivik’s plans
Dagsavisen reported that the transcript was believed stolen during the night between the 23rd and 24th of August in 2011. The theft was reported to the leaders of the police district and its internal affairs division, but others involved in the July 22 attacks were not informed.
The transcript reportedly contained Breivik’s own chilling accounts, under police questioning, of how he had hoped former Labour Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland and Labour’s foreign minister at the time, Jonas Gahr Støre, would be on the island of Utøya when he arrived to carry out his massacre that left 69 people dead. He told police he wanted to execute both Brundtland and Støre with a bayonet and knives, film the executions and post them on YouTube. Støre, however, had been on Utøya earlier to address members of the party’s youth organization that was holding its annual summer camp. Brundtland had also left the island before Breivik arrived and started shooting at nearly everyone he encountered.
The earliest interrogations of Breivik were important to the prosecution and defense, and police officials suspected the transcript from the session that disappeared was taken to sell to the media. Excerpts from them did appear in subsequent media reports and attorneys for victims and survivors were blamed. Now, Dagsavisen reported, the leaks could well have come from within the police.
An investigation into the theft was conducted, and found that 28 police employees plus nine security guards had keys to the office from which the documents were stolen. It wasn’t possible to determine who may have been involved and the investigation was suspended in April 2012, two days after Breivik’s trial began in the Oslo City Court.
A transcript of the actual session was not lost, though, because it could be printed out again and delivered to legal counsel. The original copy was never recovered and Lippestad was not told he was receiving a new copy of the interrogation record with his client.
Police officials told Dagsavisen they saw no reason to inform Lippestad or other attorneys involved because the incident amounted to “a possible punishable offense carried out by a police employee.” Since neither Lippestad nor others were suspected of being involved, they were not informed and the internal affairs division handled the theft internally.