Experts split over Breivik’s mental health
OSLO - The Associated Press
Psychiatrists say confessed mass killer Breivik (L) is not psychotic. AP PhotoPrison psychiatrists monitoring confessed Norwegian mass killer Anders Behring Breivik say he is not psychotic and he has not been put on medication, a prosecutor said in a court filing Jan. 4, adding fuel to calls to reassess whether he is legally insane.
The original finding by two court-appointed psychiatrists has been fiercely debated by mental health experts and several lawyers representing the victims of the massacre that rocked Norway over the summer have demanded the Oslo District Court order a second evaluation.
But, prosecutor Svein Holden said Jan. 4 in a letter to the court that despite the new information he would not seek another evaluation. Breivik has recently been given access to media in prison and could try to manipulate new experts in ways that would be favorable to him, he said. Prosecutors say they would rather let experts testify at the upcoming trial.
Breivik, 32, has confessed to setting off a bomb that ripped through Oslo’s government district on July 22, killing eight people, then opening fire at the summer camp of the governing Labor Party’s youth wing, killing another sixty-nine. The Nov. 29 finding by two psychiatrists said Breivik was insane during the bomb-and-shooting rampage. In that report, the psychiatrists, who spent 36 hours talking to Breivik, described him as a man living in a “delusional universe,” a paranoid schizophrenic who had lost touch with reality.
However, in his letter to the court, Holden says four psychiatrists at Ila prison in Oslo, where Breivik is held in pretrial detention, informed him they have not observed any signs that he is psychotic. The prison has not started medication of Breivik or seen any need to move him to another facility, Holden added.
The deadline for parties to file their demands is tomorrow and the court will decide some time next week whether a new evaluation should be made, court spokesman Geir Engebretsen said. The trial is set to begin April 16. If declared mentally fit and convicted of terrorism, Breivik would face up to 21 years in prison or an alternative custody arrangement that could keep him behind bars indefinitely.