UK & World News
Prosecutors Want Psychiatric Care For Breivik
Prosecutors in the trial of Norwegian mass killer Anders Breivik have requested he is given psychiatric care instead of being sent to prison because of doubts over his sanity.
In their closing arguments, prosecutors said it could not be ruled out that the 33-year-old was psychotic when he killed 77 people in a bomb and gun rampage on July 22.
Prosecutor Svein Holden said: "We request that he is transferred to compulsory psychiatric care."
If the court comes to the same conclusion when it issues its ruling, expected next month, it would mean that Breivik will avoid criminal responsibility for Norway's worst peacetime massacre.
The defence is likely to refute the insanity finding on Friday, the last day of the 10-week trial. Breivik, who styles himself as an anti-Muslim militant, claims he is sane and that his attacks were motivated by his political views.
Just like when the trial stared in mid-April, the 33-year-old Norwegian flashed a clenched-fist salute with his right arm before he was led out of the court on Thursday.
Five judges will have to look at all the evidence presented in court - including the two official reports from two teams of forensic psychiatrists. One declaring Breivik sane. The other declaring him insane.
The first team of psychiatrists, declared Breivik insane, ignoring his right-wing extremism and political motivation.
Based on psychiatry, they say he is psychotic and a paranoid schizophrenic and that he lives in his own delusional universe where all thoughts and actions are controlled by his delusions.
None of the other witnesses with expertise on psychiatry and psychology agrees Breivik is insane. A dozen or so have given evidence in court.
The second team declaring him "of sound mind" said he has no serious mental illness and is not psychotic. They say he suffers from narcissistic personality disorder, but that does not make him insane.
The first psychiatrists interpret his withdrawal from friends, work and social life in 2006 as being unable to function in a normal society. The second team of psychiatrists see this as natural behaviour for a terrorist planning an attack.
In court, they admitted doubts over their opinion after the first week of the trial when Breivik showed no emotions at all but after a secret 19-minute meeting with Breivik in his waiting cell in Oslo district court they were reassured.
This doubt could be vital when the judges decide Breivik's fate. How big is this doubt?
If the judges are more than 25% uncertain that Breivik is sane, the law says this doubt should "benefit" the perpetrator by declaring him insane, just to ensure no insane offenders end up in prison.
The dilemma is that Breivik and his defence team do not see this as a benefit to him.
He wants to be declared sane despite the fact that a transfer to mental health care would given him a more "comfortable" life.
Breivik's defence team will on Friday ask for him to be declared of sound mind, even though it means an indeterminate prison sentence.
The verdict is expected on either July 20 or August 24.