Why is the Attorney General recommending resumption now?
The Attorney General refers to the murder of Lena Sløgedal Paulsen (10). Viggo Kristiansen was convicted of the murder in 2002. Jan Helge Andersen was acquitted of this murder, but convicted of the murder of Stine Sofie Sørstrønen (8).
When Kristiansen was acquitted of murder and rape last December, the police were therefore left with the fact that the murder of Sløgedal Paulsen was unsolved.
– The public prosecutor’s office has emphasized the new DNA analyzes in the case, which are believed to link Andersen to both murder victims, explains NRK’s crime commentator Olav Rønneberg.
– At the same time, emphasis has been placed on Andersen’s somewhat incoherent explanations, characterized by a poor memory and lack of answers to key questions, he elaborates.
What does the Re-admission Commission have to consider now?
The commission must take a decision whether new information or evidence is available which means that it “must be assumed that he (Andersen, ed.) is guilty of the criminal act”.
They then have to make a decision based on a pure preponderance of probability.
Head of the Re-admission Commission, Kamilla Silseth, says they have their next meeting in May.
– In any case, it will take a few months before the case is fully processed, because now Jan Helge Andersen will be able to make his input and assessments, says Silseth to NRK.
The commission has several times previously reopened cases that have led to overturning of acquittals and convictions.
What will Jan Helge Andersen be prosecuted for if the case is reopened?
Jan Helge Andersen was indicted in 2001 for having killed Stine Sofie Sørstrønen (8), and for having contributed to the murder of Lena Sløgedal Paulsen (10).
Andersen confessed to the murder of Sørstrønen, but claimed that he tried to stop Kristiansen from killing Sløgedal Paulsen. Kristiansen was convicted of this murder, but was finally acquitted in December last year.
Thus, there is increased suspicion against Jan Helge Andersen. New evidence came to light in Kristiansen’s case, which may be important in a new case against Andersen.
Andersen can therefore be prosecuted for the murder of Lena Sløgedal Paulsen (10).
What does Jan Helge Andersen risk?
In 2002, Andersen was sentenced to 19 years in prison for the murder of Stine Sofie Sørstrønen.
In Norway, the law’s most severe penalty is 21 years in prison.
He thus risks up to two years in prison as an additional penalty if he is convicted of the murder of Sløgedal Paulsen.
Viggo Kristiansen has reported Andersen for false explanation. Kristiansen’s defense lawyers believe that he can also be sentenced for this. A gross, false accusation can be punished with imprisonment of up to 10 years.
– Presumably this will be considered a separate matter, so that you don’t stick to the ceiling for 21 years, says Professor Morten Holmboe to NRK.
He adds that this is unplowed ground.
In that case, Andersen may receive a sentence for gross, false accusation, which is in addition to the two years he faces if he is convicted of the murder of Sløgedal Paulsen.
It is unlikely that Andersen can be sentenced to detention, since he has been out of prison for several years.
Can Andersen be acquitted again?
If the case is reopened, the court can still assess that there is not enough evidence in the case to convict Andersen of the murder of Sløgedal Paulsen.
At the same time, there is a strict requirement for the Attorney General to send such a petition to the Readmissions Commission.
– The Attorney General must be convinced of Andersen’s guilt, and he must be convinced that Andersen’s guilt can be proven. It has resulted in the decision that has come now, explains crime commentator Rønneberg.
Jan Helge Andersen, defending Svein Holden, says his client denies having killed Lena Sløgedal Paulsen.
– I just had a conversation with him, and he primarily maintains that he is not guilty of the murder charge. But now we only have to take the prosecution’s assessments into account, so our task will be to shed light on the case as best as possible, Holden told NRK right after the decision by the Attorney General on Friday.
Why hasn’t he been arrested?
State Attorney Johan Øverberg, who has been responsible for the new investigation into the Baneheia case, says that the prosecution has discussed and considered whether they should arrest Jan Helge Andersen.
– The question of a possible arrest has been discussed and considered, but we have not found that there is any basis. We have chosen not to do that, says Øverberg to NRK.
Will Viggo Kristiansen testify in court?
If Viggo Kristiansen is subpoenaed as a witness in the case, he basically has a duty to explain himself in court.
It is expected that this testimony will be important for the defenders of Jan Helge Andersen in order to cast doubt on whether Andersen was alone in the murders. Among other things, Kristiansen has changed his explanation of where he was.