Norway attacks: Anders Behring Breivik insane - lawyer

Lawyer Geir Lippestad: ''This whole case has indicated that he is insane''

The lawyer defending Anders Behring Breivik, who admits carrying out Friday's mass killings in Norway, says his client is probably insane.

However he added it was too early to say if Mr Breivik would plead insanity.

Meanwhile, police have defended their handling of the event in which 76 people died in the bombing in Oslo and a shooting spree on a nearby island.

It was an hour-and-a-half before an armed unit reached Utoeya island after the shooting began.

"I don't think we think we could have done this faster," Police Chief of Staff Johan Fredriksen told journalists in Oslo.

He also dismissed criticism that staff manning the police department's one helicopter were on holiday.

Mr Fredriksen said the helicopter was only used for observational purposes and would not have affected the reaction to the shooting.

Mr Breivik is facing terrorism charges and police are considering also charging him with crimes against humanity, which carry a possible 30-year sentence, a prosecutor has said.

Anders Behring Breivik

Anders Behring Breivik leaves court, 25 July
  • Describes himself as a Christian and conservative on Facebook page attributed to him
  • Grew up in Oslo
  • Set up farm through which he was able to buy fertiliser, which may have been used to make a bomb

Mr Breivik's lawyer, Geir Lippestad, told reporters: "This whole case indicated that he is insane."

He said his client believed that he was in a war and that he would be vindicated in 60 years' time.

A medical evaluation would be carried out to establish his psychiatric condition, Mr Lippestad added.

He said Mr Breivik had told him he was part of an anti-Islam network that had two cells in Norway and several more abroad.

Norwegian police and researchers have cast doubt on such claims, but said they were investigating them.

A police spokesman said two psychiatrists would assess Mr Breivik, who was also being kept on suicide watch.

Mr Lippestad also said that his client had used "some kind of drugs" before the crime.

'Fantastic' police work

Mr Breivik, a right-wing Christian extremist, appeared in court on Monday to face charges of destabilising vital functions of society, including government, and causing serious fear in the population.

He accepted responsibility for the attacks but denied the terrorism charges.

Prosecutor Christian Hatlo told Aftenposten that a new charge of crimes against humanity, which could be brought under a 2008 law, was "a possibility".

Police spokesman Sturla Henreiksboe told AFP news agency: "Police have so far cited... the law on terrorism but seeking other charges has not been excluded."

Earlier Mr Hatlo said Mr Breivik claimed he had worked in a cell, or group, and that there were two other cells working with him.

Although police sources say other groups are unlikely, Mr Hatlo said he "cannot completely, and I stress completely, rule out that others were involved in what happened".

Johan Fredriksen: "We cannot be led by fear"

He said his operation had not been aimed at killing as many people as possible but that he wanted to create the greatest loss possible to Norway's governing Labour Party, which he accused of failing the country on immigration.

The bomb in Oslo targeted buildings connected to the Labour government, and the youth camp on Utoeya island that was attacked was also run by the party.

The police have said they are to start to formally release the names of the victims on their website at 18:00 local time (16:00 GMT).

Police chief Sveinung Sponheim said the names, including the victims' ages and where they lived would be published.

Names will continue to be released at 16:00 GMT each day until all the victims have been identified and all relatives informed, he said.

Earlier Norwegian Justice Minister Knut Storberget praised the "fantastic" work done by police.

"I had the opportunity to thank police in Oslo and other districts," he told reporters after talks with Oslo's police chief.

The praise comes despite criticism in the media that officers were slow to respond to the shooting on Utoeya island, where most of the victims died.

"It is very important that we have an open and critical approach," Mr Storberget said, "but there is a time for everything."

Mr Breivik has been remanded in custody for eight weeks, the first four in full isolation.

On Monday up to 250,000 people poured on to the streets of the capital, many of them holding flowers in memory of the eight people killed in the Oslo blast and the 68 who died at the youth camp on Utoeya.

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