Judge dismissed in Breivik trial17/04/2012 - 08:51:28
A lay judge in the trial of confessed mass killer Anders Behring Breivik was dismissed today for commenting online that the anti-Muslim extremist deserves the death penalty.
Lawyers on all sides requested that Thomas Indreboe, one of the lay judges trying confessed mass killer Anders Behring Breivik, be dismissed for saying after last July’s massacre that the anti-Muslim extremist deserves death for killing 77 people.
Norway does not have the death penalty.
Indreboe was replaced today by back-up lay judge Elisabeth Wisloeff.
Breivik is being tried by a panel of two professional judges and three lay judges. The system is designed to let ordinary citizens have a role in the Norwegian justice system.
As at the start of the trial yesterday, Breivik entered the court smirking today before flashing a clenched-fist salute.
The right-wing fanatic is expected to go into the witness box on the second day of his trial.
He is planning to read a prepared statement as he begins giving evidence, his lawyer Geir Lippestad said.
Many survivors and families of victims are worried that Breivik will use the trial to promote his extremist political ideology.
In a manifesto he published online before the attacks, he wrote that “patriotic resistance fighters” should use trials “as a platform to further our cause”.
Norway’s NRK television was broadcasting parts of the trial live but will not be allowed to show Breivik’s evidence.
The 33-year-old admitted carrying out the massacre, but denied criminal responsibility claiming the slaughter was in self-defence.
The key issue to be resolved during the trial, which is expected to last 10 weeks, is Breivik’s mental state.
Breivik claims he is sane and targeted the government headquarters in Oslo and an island youth camp to strike against the left-leaning political forces he blames for allowing immigration in Norway.
If deemed mentally competent, he faces a maximum prison sentence of 21 years or an alternative custody arrangement under which the sentence is prolonged for as long as an inmate is deemed a danger to society.
If found to be insane, he will be held in a secure mental hospital.
Legal experts said in either case it is virtually certain he will never be released.
Breivik will call radical Islamists, and extremists on the right and left to give evidence to support “his perception that there is a war going on in Europe”, his lawyer told the court at the start of the trial yesterday.
He rejected the court’s authority yesterday.
“I don’t recognise Norwegian courts because you get your mandate from the Norwegian political parties who support multiculturalism,” he said.
Eight people were killed in Breivik’s bombing of Oslo’s government district and 69 died in his shooting massacre at the Labour Party’s youth camp on Utoya island outside the capital.
Breivik has said the attacks were necessary to protect Norway from being taken over by Muslims.
“I admit to the acts, but not criminal guilt,” he told the court, insisting he had acted in self-defence.
Breivik also announced he did not recognise the authority of Judge Wenche Elisabeth Arntzen, because he said she is a friend of the sister of former Norwegian prime minister and Labour Party leader Gro Harlem Brundtland.
Breivik described himself as a writer, currently working from prison, when asked by the judge for his employment status.
He showed no signs of remorse, but began crying as prosecutors played an anti-Muslim propaganda video that he posted on YouTube before the attacks.
The court was also shown surveillance footage of the Oslo car bomb explosion, which ripped through the high-rise building that housed Norwegian government headquarters, and was played a three-minute recording of a young woman’s frantic phone call to police from Utoya.
Breivik’s calls to police offering to give himself up were also played.
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