The high-profile defense attorney for Eirik Jensen, once one of the Oslo Police District’s own most high-profile officers, likened his corruption trial to a “fairy tale” based on speculation and no concrete evidence. John Christian Elden claimed that Jensen’s former informant who turned against him, hash dealer Gjermund Cappelen, simply can’t be believed.
“‘Once upon a time…’, that’s how this fairy tale spun by Gjermund Cappelen should have begun,” Elden claimed in his lengthy closing arguments in a packed courtroom in Oslo on Tuesday. When he finished six hours later, he called on the court to fully acquit his client.
“My main point is that there’s no hard evidence in this case, neither for the corruption indictment nor for the narcotics indictment,” Elden told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) when he was finished. “The whole case rests largely on Cappelen’s telling of a fairy tale.” Cappelen, arrested in December 2013 on charges of smuggling up to 30 tons of hash into Norway, later tried to plea bargain with police, claiming that Jensen was involved in the smuggling and profited from it.
Cappelen confessed to the hash smuggling and was expecting a greatly reduced sentence after revealing Jensen’s alleged role in it. Prosecutors instead asked the court to sentence Cappelen to 18 years in prison, only a three-year reduction of Norway’s longest prison term of 21 years. They asked that Jensen be sentenced to the full 21 years, for corruption and grave dereliction of duty.
Elden insists his client is innocent and should be cleared of all charges. No verdict is expected until September, given the complicated nature of the case. Elden said he hoped Jensen, who was released from custody pending the results of his trial, “will manage to take some holiday between now and then.”