Ulrik Fredrik Malt
Professor Emeritus in Psychiatry and Psychosomatic Medicine, UiO
There is a hint of conspiratorial thinking in Høgberg’s post.
This is a debate post. Opinions in the text are at the writer’s expense.
Professor of forensic science Alf Petter Høgberg states in a post on 3 February that the judgment against Anders Behring Breivik from 2012 “deviated from general principles for the treatment of doubts related to the criminal liability condition sanity”.
Breivik was psychotic, Høgberg believes. He relies on some psychiatrists, but seems to place so much emphasis on information he himself has obtained about Breivik’s activities and the charge in prison. There is certain documentation of “madness and madness”, he believes.
He has even immersed himself in Breivik’s inner psychic life. The massacres were carried out “without understandable reason or motive”. A claim few psychiatrists and clinical psychologists would agree with.
A whiff of conspiratorial thinking
During the lengthy trial, documentation and assessments were presented which indicated that the criminality condition sanity was met, and that there was not sufficient reasonable doubt about this. All this is rejected by Høgberg.
There is also a hint of conspiratorial thinking in the post. Høgberg writes that it was no coincidence that the judge in the Breivik case was appointed a judge in the Supreme Court in 2014. An important reason, Høgberg believes, was that she sentenced Breivik to detention.
At the age of 70, Norway’s most respected and experienced forensic psychiatrist was appointed commander of the Order of St. Olav. But it was also not just because of her great efforts for Norwegian forensic psychiatry and prisoners’ conditions of imprisonment for many decades. According to Høgberg, a significant reason must have been that she concluded that Breivik was not psychotic, and that she still believes so.
Breivik killed 77 people, injured many more for life, was considered sane and sentenced to detention.
I can hardly see that the claim that there is a murder, or that key players in the trial have been rewarded with positions and orders for their best professional assessments, is probable in Høgberg’s post.
If a debate on principles for dealing with doubts related to the criminality condition sanity is to be fruitful, it should be about the difficult considerations that a judge has when deciding when there is “reasonable doubt” and not. Preferably with examples from the July 22 case.