Anders Breivik, the right wing extremist who confessed to killing 77 people in a bomb and shooting rampage in Norway, is not criminally insane, a new psychiatric assessment found today.
The assessment contradicts an earlier examination which diagnosed Breivik as a paranoid schizophrenic, and as being psychotic both during and after the attacks.
The development comes just six days before Breivik is scheduled to go to trial on terror charges and could lead prosecutors to seek a prison sentence rather than compulsory psychiatric care.
The latest assessment was made by psychiatrists Terje Toerrissen and Agnar Aspaas and comes after widespread criticism of the original diagnosis led the court to request a second examination. The terror trial will include both assessments of Breivik’s mental health.
The full report of the examination is confidential and the psychiatrists declined to give details on what led them to reach a different conclusion to the first team of experts that examined Breivik.
They said they will save details of their reasoning for the trial, although Toerrissen added: "Our conclusion is that he is not psychotic at the time of the actions of terrorism and he is not psychotic now."
Breivik has stated that he is not insane and wrote a letter to the Norwegian press saying the first examination was “based on lies”. Despite confessing to setting the bomb that killed eight people in Oslo, as well as killing 69 people at a youth camp outside the capital, Breivik denies criminal guilt.
He said the attacks were necessary as part of a war against Islam in Europe, and claimed to be a member of a militant right-wing group called Knights Templar who planned to overthrow governments in a "patriotic" revolution that would result in a Europe-wide deportation of Muslim immigrants.
Police found no trace of the organisation and maintain he planned and carried out the attacks alone.
Asked whether Breivik will defend his actions in court, his lawyer Geir Lippestad said: "He won't only defend it; he will also regret that he didn't go further."