Neighbour dispute lands vandal in jail

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A Norwegian man living on the fashionable island of Nesøya outside Oslo was sentenced to 60 days in jail after he literally sawed his neighbour’s tool shed in half, claiming it extended onto his property. The 43-year-old defendant, an investor and hedge fund manager educated in England, was also charged with choppig down two of his neighbours’ fruit trees and several berry bushes, destroying a stone wall and another neighbour’s greenhouse.

Arne Vigeland was unrepentant when his trial began last week in the Asker og Bærum Court. He still claims all the actions he carried out in the spring of 2014 were against allegedly illegal structures on his own property, and followed years of conflicts with his neighbours.

“Vigeland was frustrated and thinks the situation was difficult,” his defense attorney Erling Høyte claimed in court. Newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN), which has covered the unusual case closely, reported that Vigeland earlier had testified that he is accustomed to getting his way and won’t give up when he thinks he’s right.

He already faces a conviction in a civil suit filed by his neighbours who successfully sued him for exagerrated vandalism. This case was brought by public prosecutors who argued that Vigeland had no right to take the law into his own hands as he did.

Vigeland announced an immediate appeal and vowed to defend himself all the way to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg if necessary. The court’s jail sentence was in line with the prosecutor’s request. Vigeland was also ordered to pay NOK 760,000 (USD 90,000) in court costs and compensation to his neighbours and an insurance company.

newsinenglish.no staff