Convicted cop loses last appeal

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Norway’s Supreme Court has decided not to handle a final appeal from convicted veteran Oslo police officer Eirik Jensen. That means Jensen’s conviction and 21-year jail sentence for corruption and narcotics crimes has taken effect, and Jensen must officially start serving his prison term.

Former top cop Eirik Jensen had such a lengthy and remarkable career in the Oslo Police District that he wrote a book about it. Now he’s forced to formally start serving a 21-year prison term for corruption and drug smuggling. He’ll likely be released much sooner, since he’ll be eligible for probation after serving two-thirds of his term and he’ll get credit for time already served.  PHOTO: Kagge Forlag

Jensen was once one of Oslo’s most respected law enforcement officers, leading major operations against theft, criminal gangs and drug smugglers. He was suddenly arrested, however, in February 2014 while on his way to work at the main police station in Oslo. He was charged with actually working with a well-known drug smuggler, Gjermund Cappelen, instead of merely using him as an informer. Cappelen had been arrested just two months before and claimed he’d had help from Jensen.

That set off the next six-and-a-half years of court trials and appeals that even included an entire repeat of Jensen’s first appeals trial. Jensen, who consistently denied any criminal complicity with Cappelen, lost at most every turn but appealed to the Supreme Court last June after he’d been convicted and sentenced again, to Norway’s longest prison term because of the seriousness of how he’d abused the public’s trust through his role in the police.

Appeals court verdicts can only be appealed to the Supreme Court on the grounds of faulty legal procedure, how the law was applied or the length of prison terms. The high court’s decision released Tuesday that Jensen’s verdict was “well-structured and extremely comprehensive” effectively brought the long legal drama that attracted huge media coverage to an end. Nor did the Supreme Court have any comments on the length of his prison term or a compensation claim for NOK 1.4 million.

Defense attorney ‘disappointed’
Jensen’s high-profile defense attorney, John Christian Elden, said he was disappointed by the Supreme Court’s decision. “It’s disappointing they won’t take the case under consideration,” Elden told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). “This is such a special case that we had expected it would be taken up.”

Jensen was already being held in custody pending the high court’s decision on Tuesday, and had no immediate comment. The case has been traumatic for the Norwegian police, which initially felt it couldn’t win: Jensen’s arrest, indictments and convictions were bad enough, and then the police’s own internal affairs had to prosecute. It would have been bad if they’d lost their case, too.

‘Police … let down’
“For Internal Affairs, this has been a case that’s demanded a lot from all of of us,” prosecutor Guro Glærum Kleppe of the police division told NRK. “It’s good to get a final decision.”

Former Oslo Police Chief Anstein Gjengedal, who served when Jensen was active and ultimately arrested, said he was unaware of Jensen’s double roles and he never had suspected Jensen of any wrongdoing. He told NRK on Tuesday that he doesn’t feel fooled, “but the police and the whole system have reason to feel let down.”

Cappelen, Jensen’s informant, was also convicted and sentenced to 13 years in prison. He’ll be eligible for parole as early as August 2022.

NewsInEnglish.no/Nina Berglund