Laila Bertheussen, the long-time partner of former Justice Minister Tor Mikkel Wara, was sentenced to 20 months in prison last winter for attacking Norway’s democracy by making it look like Wara was being threatened. Her appeal was rejected on Tuesday by an Oslo court after it ruled there was no question she was guilty as charged.
The appeals court announced it would only evaluate the length of her prison term, which could be either shortened or lengthened. Bertheussen’s defense attorny said he would now consider an appeal to the Supreme Court.
Satisfied prosecutors told state broadcaster NRK that Norway’s highest court would only agree to hear her case if it felt the appeals court hadn’t based its decision on good enough reasons. “Our impression is the appeals court’s decision is very well-grounded,” said prosecutor Frederik G Ranke.
The case dominated the news in Norway during the winter of 2018-2019, after the home Bertheussen and Wara shared was repeatedly subjected to threats and vandalism. Prosecutors later argued successfully that Bertheussen had orchestrated it all herself, to make it look like immigrants or anti-racists were harassing Wara, who represented the right-wing Progress Party.
Her arrest in the spring of 2019 shocked and embarrassed both Wara, his party and the conservative government coalition in which he served, and he quickly resigned his ministerial post. He stood by her during her lengthy trial last fall, during which she continued to deny that she sent threatening letters in the mail, spray-painted grafitti on their house, vandalized their car and attempted to set fires on their property.