Wednesday, October 20

Janitor killed in Grünerløkka in 1998: the prosecution believes the man is still dangerous

The prosecution will continue to hold the man who in 2000 was convicted of stabbing a man at Grünerløkka in Oslo in 1998 in compulsory mental health care.

Police crime scene investigators work at the scene at Stolmakergata on Grünerløkka in Oslo, where Ola Wangen was killed on December 10, 1998.

– Every time a sentence on compulsory mental health care has been issued, the court has justified it on the grounds that there is an imminent danger of recidivism, prosecutor Carl Graff Hartmann tells NTB.

It has now issued a formal indictment requesting that the man in his 50s who was convicted in 2000 of killing a caregiver in Grünerløkka in 1998 remain detained in compulsory mental health care.

– This has to do with the fact that the Public Ministry, based on the forensic psychiatric statement that has been prepared, believes that there is still an imminent danger of recidivism of a serious violent crime.

The case will be heard in the Oslo District Court in December.

– My client is crazy

It was on December 10, 1998 when Ola Wangen, 39, was stabbed several times in the open air at Stolmakergata on Grünerløkka in Oslo. Wangen was a caretaker in the housing association where the man’s mother lived, and the knife attack occurred when Wangen asked the man not to join the housing association.

The killer was arrested a few days later. He had just been released from a psychiatric hospital.

– My client is crazy. He suffers from great delusions. He was not sane before, during or after the act. We are talking about a person who has a serious mental illness, the 33-year-old’s defender, lawyer Per Harald Gjerstad, told VG a few days after the arrest.

The man is originally from Iran and came to Norway as a political refugee in 1987. Already the following year he was admitted to a psychiatric hospital. According to lawyer Gjerstad, he must have developed serious trauma after extensive torture in Iran.

Known erratic

The forensic psychiatric examination also concluded that the man was insane before, during and after the murder.

In 2000, he was sentenced to what was then called security for 10 years, which involved compulsory psychiatric treatment. The security sentence became a mandatory mental health care sentence in 2005. Since then, the mandatory mental health care sentence has been extended four times, the last of which was three years ago.

Attorney General Hartmann will say nothing about the man’s chances of being released.

– It will depend on the mental state of the convicted person at the relevant time and the court’s assessment of the danger of recidivism, he says.

– It is the need for society to protect its inhabitants against serious violent crimes that governs the assessment of the prosecution in such cases, he adds.

– It does not represent a danger

The man’s defender, lawyer Tore Øydne, has not been in contact with his client lately, but says the man had previously believed that he posed no danger to society.

– You have never agreed to be kept in compulsory mental health care. He has stated that it is not necessary and has insisted that it does not represent any danger to society. I have no information that he should mean anything else today, Øydne says.

The defender adds that over the years the man has been receiving a gradual softening of the coercive regime, and that there have been no special incidents related to him in the institution where he is admitted.

– Before the previous trial, they had given him more free time and more leave, but I have to make a reservation that I do not know how the situation has developed since then, says Øydne.

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