A company Christmas party arranged by Norway Seafoods in Melbu, Nordland County ended in tragedy over the weekend, when a late-night brawl resulted in the death of an uninvited guest in his 40s. Police arrested three Norway Seafoods employees as suspected assailants, but released them all on Sunday.
They remain charged in the case. Mona Madsen, prosecutor for the Midtre Hålogaland Police District, told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) that police believe they know what happened and that releasing the men would not jeopardize evidence or their ongoing investigation.
Police were called to the scene of the party at a guest house known as Arbeideren in Melbu at around 2:45am on Sunday, to remove an intoxicated man from what’s known as a julebord in Norway. When police arrived, the man was said to be “lifeless” following a “conflict” between him and other party guests, according to a police press release Sunday morning.
Madsen told NRK there had been “a physical confrontation” between the dead man and the three men charged in the case. Emergency medical personnel arrived quickly at the scene and tried to revive the man, but he was declared dead at the scene. Police didn’t reveal a cause of death pending results of an autopsy.
The three Norway Seafoods employees are charged with inflicting bodily injury with death as a result. The dead man, meanwhile, had a police record, according to Madsen.
“Everyone understands that this affects very many people in the community,” local mayor Kjell-Børge Freiberg told NRk. There were more than 80 Norway Seafoods employees at the party. Factory chief Martin Rasmussen wouldn’t comment on whether the dead man was an acquaintance of the employees charged with killing him.
The Norwegian julebord season is known for excessive drunkenness and rowdy, sometimes violent, behaviour. None of the three men charged in the Melbu julebord had accepted offers of public defense counsel.