Norway’s Supreme Court decides to release man convicted in Baneheia murder and rape case

Viggo KristiansenPhoto: Photoline / SCANPIX
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The Supreme Court’s Appeals Committee has unanimously decided to release Viggo Kristiansen, the man convicted in the Baneheia case. Both his defenders and the prosecution were in favor of the decision.

The ruling from the Supreme Court’s Appeals Committee is unanimous. The committee cannot see “that the consideration for social protection or other compelling reasons” speaks in favor of keeping Kristiansen imprisoned, as the Court of Appeal believed in a 2-1 dissent.

The ruling means that Kristiansen will be released today, lawyer Arvid Sjødin told news bureau NTB.

The prosecuting authority has sent the decision to the prison and asked that the release be implemented as soon as possible, public prosecutor Andreas Schei told VG.

Relatives: Very unfortunate

Kristiansen has been sentenced to 21 years in prison for having been the main culprit behind the rapes and murders of 8-year-old Stine Sofie Sørstrønen and 10-year-old Lena Sløgedal Paulsen in Baneheia in Kristiansand on May 19, 2000.

He has always denied criminal guilt. In February this year, he had his criminal case reopened. Tuesday’s release does not mean that he is acquitted.

The relatives of the killed girls are disappointed that the 42-year-old is released.

“The Supreme Court per se had no other choice when the prosecuting authority did not want to extend the detention… We think this is very unfortunate,” the representing lawyer Håkon Brækhus told TV 2.

The prosecution requested his release

The Supreme Court was actually supposed to deal with the issue of release on June 17, but the case was postponed when the prosecuting authority also called for release on Monday.

“Viggo is significantly surprised but very happy. I’ve also talked to the family. Several say they will go home and hoist the flag,” Kristiansen’s defender, lawyer Arvid Sjødin, told NTB.

The Borgarting Court of Appeal will process the reopened case. The Oslo Public Prosecutor’s Office shall issue a recommendation to the Attorney General as to whether a new main hearing shall be held or whether an acquittal without a main hearing shall be requested. This decision will not be ready until autumn at the earliest.

Jan Helge Andersen was sentenced to 19 years in prison in the Baneheia case. He has finished serving his sentence.

Contact ban request

The relatives of the killed girls have requested that Viggo Kristiansen be banned from contacting them if he is released.

Oslo Police District is considering the request, lawyer Audun Beckstrøm told NTB.

“We are waiting for feedback. This is urgent,” lawyer Beckstrøm said.

Communications adviser Steinar Wulfsberg-Gamre in the Oslo police district confirms that the case is being processed.

Police protection

Lawyer Arvid Sjødin does not rule out that they will formally ask for police protection of Viggo Kristiansen.

The lawyer told VG that they are discussing whether the 42-year-old needs protection to ensure his safety.

“We’re looking at this now. We see that there is a lot of hatred on social media, where people are excited about the case. We do not rule out that we will formally request it,” Sjødin noted.

Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews

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