The Criminal Cases Review Commission has decided that Viggo Kristiansen will have a new trial of the criminal case from 2002.
The now 41-year-old Kristiansen was sentenced in the Agder Court of Appeal in 2002 to 21 years in prison for having been the main actor 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. The girls were found two days later.
Since the police arrested him on September 13 in the same year, Viggo Kristiansen had denied being involved in the killings.
“Viggo Kristiansen and his family are relieved by the Commission’s decision to reopen the Baneheia case. On the phone from Ila prison, Kristiansen said that he is looking forward to a new trial where he will present evidence that shows that he was not involved in the child killings,” lawyer Arvid Sjødin said.
The trial will not take place in the Agder Court of Appeal, which was the court that handed down the final verdict in 2002, but in another court appointed by the Supreme Court.
Partial DNA trace
“Today’s decision shows that Viggo Kristiansen should have had his case reopened more than ten years ago, had the Commission performed its statutory duties to investigate the circumstances,” Sjødin added.
Viggo Kristiansen was convicted in two courts based on the entire body of evidence.
A partial DNA trace was found on the victims that the court attributed to Kristiansen at the time. This DNA trace has since been re-analyzed and has been defined as unfit to be presented as evidence in a trial.
Viggo Kristiansen has requested that the case be reopened five times, appealed the decision on the reopening twice, and brought one of the appeals to the Supreme Court, but without success.
He also reported his former friend Jan Helge Andersen for false testimony, but the report was dropped after a few weeks.
“The decision to reopen (the case) will mean that Viggo Kristiansen, after spending half his life behind (prison) walls, can finally get a real opportunity to defend himself and do away with the accusations – and at the same time to establish himself as an ordinary citizen, albeit with almost 21 years delay,” Sjødin said.
Several lawyers have been involved in the case after Tore Pettersen, who defended Kristiansen during the first trial.
For the past nine years, lawyer Arvid Sjødin in Stavanger, together with a separate support group of volunteers, assisted Kristiansen in bringing the case before the Commission again.
Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews
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