June 18, 2012 / 6:34 PM / 5 years ago

Breivik's psychiatrist wavered on sanity ruling

OSLO (Reuters) - A psychiatric expert who concluded Norwegian far right mass killer Anders Behring Breivik was sane begun to doubt his diagnosis after watching the defendant’s lack of emotions during the early stages of the trial, he told the court on Monday.

“Could he have psychosis?” said psychiatrist Terje Torrissen. “I thought, how is it possible to sit through this without showing any sign of emotion?”

To erase his doubt, Torrissen asked for another meeting with Breivik while his trial for the murder of 77 people, mostly teenagers at the ruling Labour Party’s summer camp, was well underway.

The request led to a 20-minute conversation between Breivik and the psychiatrist, not known publicly until Monday, that convinced Torrissen that his original conclusion was correct and Breivik was legally sane, he said.

Breivik admits the killings, claiming he killed political activists who supported “cultural Marxism” and Muslim immigration, and his trial has focused on his mental condition.

A first group of court-appointed psychiatrists concluded he was a psychotic paranoid schizophrenic while a second team consisting of Torrissen and Agnar Aspaas concluded he suffered most likely from narcissistic personality disorder but was not psychotic.

If found insane, Breivik would be sent to a mental institution, set up inside a high security prison, and would come up for a review every three years.

If found sane, he would face 21 years in prison with the possibility of indefinite extensions if deemed dangerous to society.

Reporting by Balazs Koranyi; Edited by Roger Atwood

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