In so many words state prosecutors Svein Holden and Inga Bejer Engh stated that there was substantive doubt about Anders Behring Breivik’s sanity. That left them no choice. They had to plead for unaccountability.
Ever since the first two psychiatrists presented their report 29th of November last year, a debate has raged in Norway. A psychiatric verdict was presented as an insult to people’s sense of justice.
Prosecutor Bejer Engh stated in court that they noted and followed the ongoing debate, but as prosecuters they had to stick to current legislation.
The first report raised such serious objections to a sanity-plea that in the end it was hard to circumvent.
Torgeir Husby and Synne Sørheim has endured an enormous pressure since they filed their report. They have been lambasted almost daily, without having the opportunity to respond.
In spite of all this, they made a forceful presentation in court last week.
State prosecution bought their definition of delusion: That Breivik has been dominated by a core delusion, centering on his wish to kill a large number of people. He has worked painstakingly with that sole goal in mind for two years: to kill as many as possible. And he performed according to plan.
He said in court that he might have cancelled Utøya if the explosion in Oslo had killed a sufficient number of people.
Nonsense, said Bejer Engh. Breivik was on a killing spree and would have continued to Utøya, regardless. His call to police at 1800 offering to surrender was just another ploy. He has depicted such a strategy in book 3 in his Manifest, as an efficient way to gain more time.
Bejer Engh is the person who seems to have gauged Breivik’s character most precisely. They did not buy his climb down in court, that the Manifest was pompous and exaggerated. While many who wanted him held accountable did buy the downscaled version. Their approach made Breivik more “normal” paradoxically.
State prosecutor’s version is more on the level with the crime and its enormity. It is a story that rings more trutful.