Second Breivik psychiatric assessment ordered

A Norwegian court has ordered a second psychiatric assessment of Anders Behring Breivik following widespread criticism of the initial evaluation which ruled him insane.

Judge Wenche Elizabeth Arntzen said two new experts, Terje Toerrisen and Agnar Aspaas, will look again at the mass killer’s mental stability to determine whether he can be held accountable for the 22nd July dual attacks which left 77 people dead.

Judge Arntzen stressed that the decision does not “imply any criticism of the initial experts” but that there is a “need to clarify the case as much as possible”. Breivik would be placed in psychiatric care rather than prison on the basis of the first evaluation.

Critics have questioned whether someone suffering from mental illness could plan such intricate attacks, while a team of experts monitoring Breivik last week said they do not believe him to be psychotic, schizophrenic or suicidal.

The 32 year-old right-wing extremist set a car bomb outside government offices in Oslo on 22nd July before going on a shooting spree at the ruling party’s youth camp on Utøya Island. Shortly before, he published a lengthy document online in which he claimed he was saving Norway and Europe from Muslim rule and multiculturalism.

Breivik, who is scheduled for trial on 16th April, admits the attacks but denies criminal guilt, claiming his actions were “necessary”. He has already said that he will not support a second assessment, which may make the work of the new panel more of a challenge.