Norway killer Breivik of 'sound mind', argue defence team

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The defence team for Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian man who killed 77 people last year, have argued he was sane at the time of the attack. The hearing Friday concluded the trial for last July's bomb and gun attacks; Breivik admits carrying out the killings, but denies criminal responsibility.

A special courtroom has been built for the trial.
Image: Ulflarsen.

The outcome of the trial rests on whether Breivik was sane when on July 22 last year he detonated a car bomb near government buildings in Oslo before shooting dead 69 and injuring a further 242 on the island of Utøya. He has been the subject of two court-appointed psychiatric assessments; the first concluded he was psychotic, but the second found him sane. Prosecutor Svein Holden said Thursday that the differing reports left room for doubt and requested that the court see Breivik "transferred to compulsory psychiatric care".

Breivik defends his attacks as necessary, claiming self-defence in a campaign against "Islamisation" of Norway. The defence team portray Breivik's earlier life as ordinary and mundane, with no evidence of insanity. They argue his extremist views, and choice of targets, show political motive.

Breivik also addressed the court Friday. While he testified, the families of victims protested by walking out of the court.

The court is to conclude whether his actions were an act of political terrorism or of insanity, with a final ruling on August 24.