Norway massacre: Judge orders second assessment to gauge sanity of mass killer Breivik

A NORWEGIAN court has ordered a new psychiatric evaluation of mass killer Anders Behring Breivik after questions were raised about the vailidity of an initial report, which found him insane.

Yesterday, Judge Wenche Elizabeth Arntzen said the new evaluation was necessary because of widespread criticism of the previous findings, which suggested Breivik should be sent to psychiatric care instead of jail.

The move means Breivik, 32, could still be imprisoned for killing 77 people in July last year, eight in a bomb attack in Stockholm and 69, mainly teenagers, shot dead at a Labour Party youth camp on Utoeya island.

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The original investigation into his mental health found he lived in a “delusional universe”, making him medically unfit to face trial, set for April.

Others had disputed the claims, saying his well-planned rampage showed he was sane at the time. Prosectuors have submitted a report saying he did not need medication and was not at high risk of taking his own life.

Yesterday, Judge Arntzen said two Norwegian psychiatrists – Agnar Aspaas and Terje Toerrisen – had been appointed for the new evaluation, though Breivik is unlikely to co-operate with any assessment.

He denies criminal guilt, claiming that he is a commander of a resistance movement aiming to overthrow European governments and replace them with “patriotic” regimes that would expel Muslim immigrants.

Investigators have found no sign of such a movement and say Breivik probably plotted and carried out the attacks alone.

Breivik has indicated through his lawyer that he does not want to talk to them because he doesn’t believe they will understand him any better than the experts who interviewed him for the first assessment.

Defence lawyer Geir Lippestad said his team was sceptical of any new evaluation because the first assessment was leaked to Norwegian media. “We want evidence to be presented in court and not in the media,” he said.

The first court-ordered assessment found Breivik was psychotic during the attacks, which would make him mentally unfit to be convicted and imprisoned for Norway’s worst peace-time massacre.

That conclusion drew criticism from experts who questioned whether someone suffering grave mental illness could carry out a well-planned attack.

Judge Arntzen also noted staff at Ila prison in Oslo, where Breivik is being held in pre-trial detention, said they hadn’t observed any signs of psychosis.

“These circumstances point toward letting independent experts conduct a new evaluation of the suspect’s accountability,” Judge Arntzen said.

Asked what would happen if the new assessment conflicts with the first one, the judge said both reports would be considered by the court when the trial starts in April.