Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Legally Insane

This morning two court appointed psychiatrists delivered their findings to the Oslo district court in the case of the Norwegian mass murderer A.B.B., who killed 77 people in July. 

In their report they have concluded that A.B.B.suffered from psychotic schizophrenia when he committed his crimes and that he is therefor legally insane. The psychiatric findings may mean A.B.B. cannot be sent to jail. 

The court will have the final decision on whether A.B.B. can be held responsible for the crimes, but it generally follows the recommendations of the experts. If the court upholds the conclusion A.B.B. will not be put on criminal trial but would instead face a court hearing to rule on his criminal insanity and the length of his commitment to a psychiatric institution.

It is reported that A.B.B. doesn't approve of the psychiatrists conclusions and that he "feels offended" by them.

My first thought when I heard this news was that to those of us in the mainstream, the thoughts and actions of extremists must inevitably seem insane and bizarre. This in itself doesn't mean that extremists always are insane by definition, let alone criminally insane in a way that they should not be accountable for their actions.

The reality of an extremist is not the same as ours, neither are his remedies. But then again, I am not a psychiatrist...


  1. Well, Ziga, it actually doesn't mean that.

    The Norwegian courts will review his medical condition every third year and if they conclude that his illness has improved significantly and that he no longer needs to be committed he may well be released.

    According to the Mayo Clinic:
    "With paranoid schizophrenia, your ability to think and function in daily life may be better than with other types of schizophrenia. You may not have as many problems with memory, concentration or dulled emotions. Still, paranoid schizophrenia is a serious, lifelong condition that can lead to many complications, including suicidal behavior.

    With effective treatment, you can manage the symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia and work toward leading a happier, healthier life."

  2. In America, it is a very long held belief that those who are not mentally competent or who are insane do not have the requisite ability to form intent to commit crimes. This belief stems from the concept that if you are not fully competent or are insane, you cannot rationally make decisions, and therefore, cannot be held accountable for your actions.

    It is a fundamental concept in our law and the law of most nations. It is what I expected the court to find. I am surprised that anyone would expect otherwise.

  3. True Diana, and both Sweden and Norway have similar rules as I would think all democratic countries.

    I was not particularly surprised by the conclusions of the psychiatrists at all.

    What I was trying to do with my post was raise the issue and question if not all heinous crimes committed would lead to the same assessment of the offender's mental illness - and whether this is necessarily always true.

    Must you be mentally deranged to commit evil deeds or can evil deeds also be committed by someone who is mentally sane but has warped priorities (i.e thinks and acts based on values ​​and a value scale that are completely foreign to us)?

  4. WELL YES,it do..
    According to my knowledge its like that, we have 10 to 15 pll that made things not like that, but similar in a way.They will never ever get out..no matter the legal writing about this.. they will not..All knows about it, none talks about it.
    This is why im content with the idea.. killing ppl and having the risk of u doing it again..and a sentence that u are sick.. well just forget it..u will never be free again.
    So in this way,psychiatric place is better than prison.For the victims. For him.Great! Just hope Norway has the same as we do

  5. OK Ziga, now I got your meaning and perhaps it is for the best because if i remember correctly from the reports in the news papers this summer the longest possible sentence in Norway is twelve (12) years.

    I don´t think they have the option to give him 77 x 12 years, but a Norwegian could perhaps help us with that information.


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