Prayer to “shadow defender”

At the same time as the negotiations in the Birgitte Tengs trial have taken their course at the courthouse in Haugesund, a parallel debate has been going on between the parties.

The defenders and the assistant lawyers strongly disagree with the prosecution as to whether they can keep parts of the method used in the police investigation hidden from the court.

The question is whether the police have used secret agents, who have acted under the guise of being something other than the police, and what they have found out if so.

Asking for help

In court, the investigation management at Kripos refused to answer questions about this.

Last week, the defenders therefore asked the court to decide on the question, and it ended with the prosecution being successful.

They believe it is appropriate for the prosecution to guarantee that there is a ruling, which is exempt from public disclosure.

CONCLUSION: The court's administrator, expert judge Arne Vikse, trusts the prosecution when they say that there is such a ruling.  Photo: Frode Sunde / TV2

CONCLUSION: The court’s administrator, expert judge Arne Vikse, trusts the prosecution when they say that there is such a ruling. Photo: Frode Sunde / TV2

Now the defenders come up with a last attempt to still get an answer.

– We hope to get to the bottom of this, and we are therefore making a request to the shadow defender to request a reversal of the existing ruling, says lawyer Stian Trones Bråstein.

– Everything must be on the table

If the police suspect a person of being behind serious criminal matters, they can go to court and ask to use covert methods.

It can be anything from secret searches to wiretapping of rooms and digital devices. That they have used several such methods in this case is already known.

THE SEARCH: Several of Vassbakk's properties, including this sea shed, have been searched by the police.  Photo: Frode Sunde / TV 2

THE SEARCH: Several of Vassbakk’s properties, including this sea shed, have been searched by the police. Photo: Frode Sunde / TV 2

In order to safeguard the rights of a person who is subjected to such methods, a so-called shadow defender is appointed.

The person concerned does not have the opportunity to contact their client or inform anyone that they have been assigned such a role.

Lawyer Bråstein says the information he and colleague Stian Kristensen have received so far, go a long way to confirming their suspicions that the police have used secret agents.

The reason why they still make this plea to the shadow defender is that they believe it is “very regrettable that the prosecution has decided not to be open about what information has come to light” in the investigation.

PRAYER: Defenders Stian Kristensen (left) and Stian Bråstein offer a prayer to the so-called shadow defender.  Photo: Frode Sunde / TV 2

PRAYER: Defenders Stian Kristensen (left) and Stian Bråstein offer a prayer to the so-called shadow defender. Photo: Frode Sunde / TV 2

– We think it is a terrible sin in a case like this, that things should be kept away from the court and the public. We think everything has to be on the table, says Bråstein.

– Punishable for us

The prosecution, led by public prosecutor Thale Thomseth, says that this is a topic they cannot go into “at all”.

– As we have said before, we cannot answer questions about this.

– Why not?

– It is a criminal offense for us and a breach of confidentiality to answer questions about this topic.

PROSECUTOR: State prosecutor Thale Thomseth in the Rogaland state prosecutor's office is taking the case to court.  Photo: Frode Sunde / TV 2

PROSECUTOR: State prosecutor Thale Thomseth in the Rogaland state prosecutor’s office is taking the case to court. Photo: Frode Sunde / TV 2

The public prosecutor explains that they are taking the court’s decision that it is sufficient that the prosecution has said that such a ruling exists, for information.

– We register that the court has made its decision and we are dealing with it, says Thomseth.

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