Drammen District Court trial 15th - 18th January 2002
My own prosecution on a four day trial was to start on Tuesday
15th January 2002, so I left England on Sunday 13th bound once again for Gothenberg
by plane. The next day I caught the train from Gothenberg to Oslo Central Station.
In the main concourse of Oslo Station, I bumped into a Norwegian girl, Torill,
now aged 30, whom I had met years earlier in England whilst she was working
at the Romford YWCA in Essex. Her parents came from Drammen and I filled her
in on the reason for my trip. She gave some very useful advice on the press’s
methods as she had herself taken a course in media studies. Remarkably, she
had been interviewed by Drammens Tidende on the subject of her studies whilst
in England. She told me she hardly recognised the article so different was it
from the interview she gave to the journalist.
I went on to Drammen by train and booked into the Rica Park Hotel and within a minute, by pure chance, my lawyer Stig Lunde phoned me and I agreed to go round to his hotel nearby for a pre-trial discussion. The trial of Heidi Schøne was to be transferred from the criminal mode to the civil mode as the criminal element had only related Drammens Tidende’s involvement and now that they were no longer part of the proceedings, Heidi Schøne’s involvement was only on a civil basis. This meant that only one judge would consider the case and not three judges, which was the case for criminal libel trials.
In correspondence with the Court, Heidi’s lawyer had tried very hard for her not to have to sit in the same court as me, saying it would cause her psychological damage as per Dr. Petter Broch’s opinion. I knew this to be bullshit – Heidi was exploiting the situation. They were trying to make out that I was a sort of Charles Manson figure and my eye contact with her would hypnotise her into deeper distress. But the judge agreed with us – her presence would be required. But in accordance with Norwegian law, there was no sanction if she didn’t turn up. It would just look bad for her case if she chose to be absent, I was told.
We had been allocated the same courtroom as in August 2000, the same judge – Anders Stilloff, and the same interpreter, the dour Scotsman, William Mullholland. Heidi’s appearance on the first day lasted all of 5 minutes. She was told she could go home as she would not be required to give evidence that day.
Stig Lunde opened the proceedings on my behalf stating that my honour and reputation had been sullied by Drammens Tidende; that my rights to freedom of expression had been restricted by the newspaper refusing to print my response; that Heidi’s statements defamed me and I was the victim of her and the newspaper’s negligence or deliberate action; that my patterns of reaction were natural, i.e. anger and the desire for revenge; that my reaction to the 1995 articles doesn’t justify another article in 1998; that I was accused of attempted rape in 1986, which accusation was upgraded to rape in 1998; that we must be able to look at the 1995 articles as they shed light on the 1998 article; that my limited sending of ‘reports’ to Heidi’s neighbours in no way justified the vast newspaper coverage against me. Stig Lunde stated that we were only demanding 50,000 Norwegian kroner from Heidi Schøne as she was of limited means but we were also claiming my legal costs from her otherwise I’d be out of pocket. Lunde spoke of the ethical norms for the press as per the revised edition of their Code of Ethics (2001 edition). This stated that journalists are responsible for the journalistic content of their material; that freedom of the press is there to help against unfair treatment of individuals; that journalists are meant to be critical of their sources and check that the information they receive is correct; that the victim of their coverage must have a chance to answer; that when I was told by the PFU that I had forfeited (by trickery) my right to sue, this explains my reaction. As for the burden of proof for Heidi, it was she who had to prove what she was claiming. Lunde then went through our evidence in full.
Vegard Aaløkken addressed the court in the afternoon and began by telling the judge that I was a complete madman who had terrorised Heidi for either a 16 year period or, alternatively, a 14 year period. The only documentary evidence he had concerned my letters and postcards starting in 1995 lasting until 1998. For the pre-1995 period it was all anecdotal and hearsay; not a single letter pre-1995 was produced in evidence.
Two of the articles I had sent Heidi in 1995, and which were mentioned in October 2001 by the judge in the police prosecution of myself, were then presented to the Court by Vegard Aaløkken. These articles concerned an American woman who had killed her two young children by drowning them, but whose life otherwise contained many of the features present in Heidi’s. One article was from the ‘Hello!’ magazine and the other from ‘The Times’ newspaper of Saturday July 8th 1995. In sending these articles to Heidi, I had underlined the similarities in her life to that of Susan Smith of South Carolina, U.S.A. Relevant quotes from the ‘Hello!’ magazine were:
• ‘Family court documents were released showing that at the age of 16, Susan was sexually abused by her stepfather …’
• ‘Susan herself attempted suicide at least twice. The first known time was when she was 13. She overdosed on over-the-counter drugs. Shortly after her graduation from high school in 1989, Susan again attempted to take her life in a similar fashion’.
• ‘ “She’s someone who lost out”, says Laura Walker, the owner of an antique shop in Union. “She has been betrayed by most of the men in her life – a father who committed suicide, a stepfather who abused her and a husband who cheated on her.”’
• ‘The reverberations from her crime and betrayal have affected all those around her’.
' The Times' article of Saturday July 8th 1995 is reprinted in full below:-
Jury to hear Gothic ordeal of child-killing mother
FROM: BEN MACINTYRE IN NEW YORK
What was Susan Smith thinking last October when she strapped her two young sons into the back of her car by a lake in South Carolina, eased off the handbrake, and watched it roll into the deep water; that question is a matter of life and death for the former secretary, whose trial begins on Monday.
In the nine days after the disappearance of her sons, Michael, three, and Alex, 14 months, Ms. Smith, 23, became a familiar figure on U.S television screens as she tearfully begged a fictitious black carjacker, who she claimed had kidnapped her children, to return them unharmed.
When Ms. Smith finally confessed that she had drowned her sons near her home in Union, South Carolina, she seemed, to many, to epitomise the purest evil.|
Yet a far more complex picture has emerged of a troubled young woman caught up in a Gothic tale of grim, small-town life involving suicide, promiscuity and sexual abuse. Many residents of Union have come to see Ms. Smith as a tragic, even insane, figure, who requires psychiatric treatment rather than the electric chair.
Although she is described as “seriously depressed and suicidal”, doctors have found Ms. Smith mentally competent to stand trial. The case, however, will hinge on what was going through her mind on October 25 when she rolled her car into the depths of John D. Long Lake.
She had appeared to be a normal, middle-class girl who excelled at school, where she was voted the “friendliest student”, and showed every sign of adoring her two sons. But her lawyers are expected to argue that beneath the veneer she was so traumatised by sexual and emotional abuse that she could not distinguish right from wrong.
Her father, despondent over his collapsing marriage, committed suicide when she was six. She first attempted suicide at 13. Three years later she told a school counsellor of a pattern of sexual abuse by her stepfather. In 1991, when two months pregnant, she married David Smith, a supermarket worker, and though a second child followed the marriage soon collapsed in acrimony.
In 1993, Ms. Smith began a relationship with Tom Findlay, a wealthy young man. But just two weeks before the drownings, he broke off the affair and in a letter accused his former girlfriend of being “boy-crazy”. It has also been reported that, on the day of the killings, Ms. Smith told Mr. Findlay she had also slept with his father.
Her lawyers are expected to argue that the sordid combination of promiscuity and emotional and sexual trauma drove Ms. Smith again to thoughts of death, and in an irrational state of mind she killed her children in a botched suicide. But her chilling lies in the aftermath may undermine any case for sympathy. The trial is expected to last at least ten weeks.
[Susan Smith was found guilty of the murder of her children and
executed in 2003]
Heidi’s defence lawyer’s main theme continued to be that I was “mentally ill”, and a sexual deviant for writing to Heidi telling her she was “a bitch” and “a whore” and berating her for her past sexual behaviour. I was meant to be “sex-focused” and “sexually obsessed” by my references to Heidi’s own sexual conduct. I was also “a rapist” although the defence lawyer did not get round to explaining exactly why or the reason for the revised allegation of actual rape in 1998 from the allegation of attempted rape in 1986. He justified my being called “a Muslim” in the 1998 newspaper article on the grounds of my strong support for the Bosnian Muslims, omitting to state the obvious to the judge, that the real reason I was referred to as “a Muslim” by Drammens Tidende had nothing to do with my sympathies for the Bosnians. In none of the six articles done on me was Bosnia ever mentioned to the readers. The ‘Muslim pervert’ label was the newspapers’ real agenda.
After he’d finished, I went up to Vegard Aaløkken, Heidi’s lawyer and pointedly told him that if he really thought I was mentally ill then it was he who must be sick in the head. I was really shocked at this awful attempt by him to mislead the Court. At one point during the defence submissions I was reprimanded by the Judge for interrupting defence counsel even though it was just to correct Aaløkken’s pronunciation of the word “prick” (he pronounced it “pryke”). The Judge told me he would tell me to leave the courtroom if I interrupted again; not a good omen.
Next it was my turn to be questioned by my own lawyer and I gave evidence as to Heidi’s own obsession with sex, which included some of her own sexual fantasies related by her to me down the years. I also stressed some of the main points of my own case to the Court. I confirmed that I had never been in a mental hospital or had any form of psychiatric treatment. Nor had I ever had a restraining order (a criminal conviction incidentally) made against me in England, as alleged by Heidi in the press.
Then began my cross-examination by the defence lawyer which continued into the following day for part of the morning. He emphasised to the Court that my information campaign against Heidi was a symptom of my “continued mental illness”, and read out again some of my letters to Heidi calling her “a whore” and “a bitch”.
What really incensed me though was hearing for the first time on Heidi’s behalf that I had allegedly told Heidi when visiting her in the 1980’s that if she didn’t let me kiss her and touch her breasts, I would tell her neighbours about the sexual abuse she’d suffered at the hands of her stepmother’s father.
Next up were the defence witnesses. Dr. Petter Broch, Heidi’s psychiatrist was the first to give evidence and his rather frank appraisal of Heidi’s life included the following:-
• Heidi’s stepmother had abused her mentally, and made Heidi “very compliant”.
• Heidi’s stepmother’s father had sexually abused her.
• Heidi had a tendency towards sexualised behaviour.
• When she was in a proper relationship Heidi had problems functioning sexually.
• Heidi didn’t get far with her psychiatric treatment with Dr. Broch because of her “identification” with him “as a man”, as men were her main problem.
• Heidi’s stepmother had reported her to the Child Protection Unit “on false grounds”.
• Heidi had faced subtle forms of punishment from her two older sisters.
• That my ‘reports’ and letters on Heidi’s life contained “ a core of truth”.
• That the letter (and tape recording of the letter) I’d sent Dr. Broch [in 1990] he threw away, although he did not, he said, listen to the whole tape.
• That my 1995 letters to Heidi’s neighbours and my information campaign against her was “stalking” on my part.
• That when asked by the defence lawyer whether I was suffering from erotic paranoia, he said he didn’t know what it was and would have to research the phenomenon.
• That he’d read the Verdens Gang article on me from May 1995 and “probably” also Bergens Tidende.
• Regarding my alleged threats on Heidi’s life, Dr. Broch confirmed this was just Heidi’s word.
• When asked by Stig Lunde about the meaning of a sense of honour and sense of self-respect, which had propelled me to act, Broch said that it was not easy to define these concepts in Norwegian culture. And when asked by Lunde about the normal range of reactions when one’s sense of•honour is attacked, Broch answered that it depends on the sort of person•who is attacked; that rage, the desire to protect oneself and revenge were a reasonable reaction as was the converse reaction – that of “withdrawal”; that these varying reactions were • more developed in different cultures.
• That Heidi’s problems are still there as she has still got contact with her stepmother.
Heidi was next on the stand. She began by stating that due to her mental condition she was on a 100% disability pension which had recently been granted by her social services department. As I was responsible for this state of affairs! Then, at the prompting of her lawyer she launched into a one-hour attack on me in which she best described me as a sexual pervert and deviant, repeating her accusation of blackmail threats if I couldn’t kiss her or touch her breasts; that I constantly phoned her up asking what underwear she had on etc. etc. She gave an incredible performance that if I hadn’t known better I would have believed.
When I first visited Heidi at Christmas 1984, to try and console her in her distress I had given her a copy of the Quran. What kind of a hypocrite could I be to commit so many alleged sexual and other misdemeanours with her in the course of the next 18 months?
She admitted that Gudmund Johannessen smoked cannabis and took amphetamines but was adamant that he had never injected heroin. I marvelled at this claim as it was obvious from my many letters to her discussing the subject of HIV and her own AIDS tests and Johannessen’s heroin abuse, that my information came straight from Heidi. Either that or I was a complete liar and fantasist and therefore quite mad.
She admitted Johannessen abused her and hit her (which included the time I guess when he beat her up in 1990 and she reported him to the police).
Further, she claimed that she never told me she was moving to Drammen in 1988. (What a lie!) And I had at one time told her in a postcard that, “If you don’t get pregnant your breasts will fall off ”. Needless to say, no such postcard was presented in evidence. Nor were the “funeral cards” saying her “days were numbered” as the press had in 1995 reported in Drammens Tidende.
Stig Lunde’s cross-examination of Heidi was very perfunctory and he began by acknowledging that she was under stress and should ask him to pause if necessary. Lunde had warned me that his cross-examination of Heidi would be quite soft so as not to give the impression that we were out to totally destroy an already clearly disturbed woman. So, on the crucial point of the truthfulness of my ‘reports’ on her life, Stig Lunde asked what parts were untrue and she replied that she would not answer the question as she regarded it as “harassment”. Then Lunde objected and continued that the purpose of her being in court was to answer the questions. She then said that “parts” of my report were true, but not which parts. Lunde did not press her.
Things got even better for me when Heidi admitted that the three 1995 newspaper articles had at the time all been read out to her over the phone by the journalists and she did not correct any of it! The judge then interrupted and pointed out to her that she had therefore adopted the contents as all true herself as if it came from her own mouth including her husband’s comments in Drammens Tidende that my ‘reports’ were “totally false” and that as she was not interviewed for the July 1998 article (her then husband was) she had by implication continued to adopt all that the July 1998 article said.
As for “death threats” to Heidi’s son, she did not mention, when asked, the 1998 allegation to the police about it being “in a letter” sent by me to Gudmund Johannessen’s parents who gave it to the Bergen police. This time she said I told her in a phone call that her son was “a bastard” and that “bastards don’t deserve to live” and secondly that on one occasion on my August 1990 visit I had “stared hard” at her son in such a way that she took that as a menacing gesture intended by me to mean that I “could kill him”. I only ever met her son once, in 1990, August, when on that lovely day for me she now described how it utterly disgusted her when she saw me cuddling Daniel and showing my affections towards him. I felt sick. Heidi proceeded to tell of her nausea when I left her son a present of a toy bus with her neighbour and later sent him a set of model cars from England. The implication she tried to convey was that I was a danger to her child. I swore to myself that I would never forgive her.
Surprisingly, Heidi admitted she had told me in Easter 1985 at the Bergen Aquarium that the fish were having “group sex” but justified it on the grounds that I did not understand the irony of her humour at seeing a school of fish. I understood perfectly well her observation but I only brought it to the attention of the court as an example of the sexualisation of her own behaviour.
Heidi also admitted to sending me the Christian booklet ‘I Dared To Call Him Father’ and when asked by the judge whether a letter had accompanied the book, she answered, “Probably, yes”.
Further, Heidi admitted that I’d made no “concrete” threats to her former neighbours to get her new address and phone number, adding, “I can’t remember if he’s issued death threats against my neighbours”.
Amazingly, Heidi stated that on my visit in 1986, I wanted to apply for a residence permit for Norway and that when on one occasion Heidi had telephoned my mother, Mum had told her that she would do all she could to “stop me” harassing her, and if she couldn’t, Mum would try to put me into a mental hospital.
Heidi did admit to having “an abortion” and admitted to receiving from me in 1988 Brian Wilson’s music cassette tape (‘Love and Mercy’). As for my attempted rape/actual rape of her, she never got round to explaining the discrepancy, but just said that one night I’d woken her up with “heavy breathing” whilst playing with myself and proceeded to have sex with her. Nothing was mentioned about “holding her down”, as Policewoman Torill Sorte had alluded to in one of my 1998 conversations with her (printed above).
When Heidi had finished the judge asked her if there was anything else she’d like to say. “No, I just want peace”, she said. And that was that. She was excused from further attendance and went home. Hers was not the performance of a terrified woman. Nay, she deserved an Oscar. I had wondered if perhaps she had even conned her social services into giving her a 100% disability pension.
The next witness was the Drammens Tidende editor, Hans Odde. After he’d got the preliminaries out of the way he mentioned how his own sister, who was a kindergarten teacher, had been called in by her principal to explain the meaning of a faxed report he had received with my usual heading, ‘Heidi Overaa: Bergens Tidende, Drammens Tidende and Verdens Gang’. The kindergarten principal thought that Drammens Tidende were up to some innovative stunt and he wanted some answers from the editor’s sister! Apart from that it was all quite mundane from Odde. He’d got the story from Verdens Gang and as Heidi was a local girl his journalist had invited her for an interview. When asked why, before the story was printed, efforts were not made to contact me to get my side of the story, Odde replied that they didn’t know how to get in touch with me. Lunde then said that they could have asked Heidi to give them that information; (she always had my phone number and everyone had my address).
Ingunn Røren was on next and she clearly was embarrassed knowing she’d already been caught out lying from the taped conservations. The judge knew this so Lunde didn’t spend much time on her, especially as the judge said aloud that “the newspapers are not in the dock”. Still, as I told Lunde, an English barrister would, for effect have began his cross-examination by saying, “Ingunn Røren, you’re a liar aren’t you?” Nevertheless, Ingunn Røren tried to get out of it by saying I’d phoned her many, many times and I was unintelligible and totally unreasonable. She repeated her claim that the newspapers did not print my side of the story “so as to protect him from himself ”.
Runar Schøne was next up. He said he was a taxi driver by occupation and had met Heidi in late 1993. They’d got married on 25th March 1994 but were now divorced. His evidence was ironically to be of great assistance to me.
He said he “couldn’t remember” if he’d spoken to me in tongues, but did admit to “babbling”. Then he said he hadn’t in fact technically spoken “in tongues”. He was presumably worried that if he denied “babbling” I’d produce a tape recording of it, thus proving he’d perjured himself. He proceeded to compare me with Osama Bin Laden and Lunde later told me that he was watching the judge and Lunde himself raised his eyebrows to the judge on hearing this Bin Laden comment, whereupon the judge raised his eyebrows back and smiled in amazement at Runar Schøne’s crass remark. (The spectre of the Muslim fanatic is never far away!) Runar Schøne went on to state how he’d liked to have come to London to kill me. Then came Runar Schøne’s accusation that his neighbours “were afraid for their lives” because of my information campaign, although he would not confirm whether I’d threatened any of his neighbours with taking their lives (as he’d twice been quoted as saying in Drammens Tidende). This, in spite of his insistence that an “old lady” neighbour of his had been “threatened” by me. Schøne neither produced her name, address or a witness statement to the police. He finished off by saying that this saga was more incredible than any film ever made and that Heidi deserved a million pounds in compensation for all she had endured.
Once each witness had been called in from outside to give their evidence and been examined by either side, they left the courtroom, so none of them got to know what was said about the rest of the case. Policewoman Torill Sorte was the last witness. For a start she didn’t even acknowledge me. She began by saying she took over “the case” in April 1996 but that in 1995 the police had traced some of my phone calls to Heidi’s home which came “from abroad” but had not recorded the contents. (A pretty useless operation then wasn’t it?). The telephone numbers traced were incomplete even! I thought to myself, so what if they were traced! I had spoken to Heidi from England and then Denmark in May 1995 and I’d brought along to Court later taped conversations with Heidi and myself from June 1995 to be used if necessary.
Next came the big surprise. Torill Sorte stated that my “despairing” mother had spoken to her telling her that she had put me into a mental hospital. I blurted out to Torill Sorte, “You liar”. The judge said nothing. I swung round to Lunde, “You’ve got to save my neck on this one”, I told him, and Lunde with the 22nd April 1996 transcript of the telephone conversation between my mum and Torill Sorte in his hand, said to Torill Sorte, “That’s not what this conversation states from a 1996 recording”. Gotcha! Sorte then protested, “I didn’t know he was recording my conversations”. Sorte was flustered and came up with this excuse – It was a long time ago and a report had been put in by Heidi years ago which stated that she (Heidi) had spoken to my mother and there were some “rumours” of me being put in a mental hospital, and it was this report by Heidi to the police, said Torill Sorte, that was “the more accurate account” of my supposed encounter with a mental hospital. The judge had not heard the tape before or seen the transcript as it had not been put in evidence, as I had so many taped conversations. I couldn’t afford to pay for all of them to be translated into Norwegian which the judge had insisted on before he accepted them in evidence. However, it was good that this particular conversation with Sorte and my mum had not been put in as evidence, otherwise we may not have caught Torill Sorte out.
The judge said he would listen to the tape in the morning and if necessary Torill Sorte would be called to give evidence to explain herself. Torill Sorte then left and I knew she would be furious with me for my trap. Two other conversations from 1998 with Torill Sorte had been sent to the Court but only arrived three days or so before the trial, so Torill Sorte obviously did not know about them.
After the day’s proceedings had finished, I gave Lunde the relevant tape and in the foyer of the Courthouse on the ground floor he listened to the tape for the first time and, eventually satisfied, told me he would talk to Torill Sorte in the early evening to discuss her evidence and the taped conversation prior to deciding if she should be brought into court again at 9a.m. the following day, Friday.
At 10 p.m. I phoned Lunde to ask what his decision was on Torill Sorte. He told me he would not be calling her the next morning. He said he’d spoken to her and she told him that if she was asked to come back to court, she would swear on oath that this recorded conversation from 1996 was not the only one she had had with my mother; that she would say, unbeknown to me, my mother had later phoned her to tell her I had in fact been treated in a mental hospital! I was not happy with Lunde’s refusal to bring Sorte in. It was obvious from the content of the 1996 conversation that it was the first conversation my mother had with Sorte, who in speaking to my mother at my insistence had not even read the three 1995 newspaper articles. So what in effect my mother had allegedly done was to betray me by finding the telephone number for an obscure police station and gone out of her way to tell the policewoman she had after all put me in a mental hospital. Some mother!
Clearly for me, Sorte had perjured herself and was prepared to do so again and Lunde said it would look bad for me if a policewoman insisted in court that my mother had phoned her to retract the 22nd April 1996 conversation, to insist I had “in fact” been “put” in a mental hospital.
So on Friday morning, the tape was played to the judge and translated into Norwegian by William Mullholland, my interpreter. The judge now knew that my mother had specifically told Torill Sorte she had not threatened to “put” me in a mental hospital as told by Heidi to the newspapers in 1995. Still, on my return to England, I was going to get my mum in on this in an effort to get Sorte charged with perjury. This determination to medicalise my behaviour and go all out to ruin me was later to take another twist in the closing statements of the two lawyers.
Stig Lunde began his summing up by ridiculing Heidi’s interpretation of my allegedly “staring hard” at her son as a death threat, and that Heidi Schøne’s mental aches and pains had roots going back long before she met me, so it was not correct for her to say that I was responsible for the fact she is now receiving a disability pension. Mr. Lunde then referred to a 1997 police report that I had never before known about, which stated, “On one occasion he was committed for treatment by his mother”. This information, said Lunde, was submitted by Torill Sorte in a 1997 report after an alleged conversation between my mother and Torill Sorte. However, no such information was ever given by my mother to Torill Sorte, said Lunde, who emphasised that no such conversation took place. Further, that it was incorrect that 300 letters had been sent to Heidi in the year 1997 to 1998. Any ‘letters’ included the reports sent to the public about Heidi’s past. [I had in fact sent 10 postcards and one letter ‘to Heidi’]. He continued that Heidi had acknowledged receiving from me a (Brian Wilson) music cassette whilst she was in a mental hospital in 1988; our letters to one another were part of “an exchange of views”; Lunde stressed that crucially that none of the above facts and background were mentioned in any of the newspaper articles that Heidi herself approved; that the word “Muslim” was linked to sexual harassment and which only increased my aggression because I felt tainted by the connection and aggrieved that Islam itself was being degraded; that my so-called “obsession” with Heidi Schøne ended in 1990 when she sent me the book ‘I Dared To Call Him Father’, but that there had in any case never been any such obsession, and that in 1995 there definitely was no obsession with thoughts of marriage to Heidi; indeed there was no interest in that respect whatsoever. That as for a 16 year period of harassment even if there were differences between us, up to 1990 there was both negative and positive contact; that Heidi did not give a contrary impression. Moreover, that there had also been periods where there was no contact at all, periods of calm and positive contact; that it is only from 1995 that I acted in a way that could have been regarded as harassment; that talk of harassment of her family “year in , year out”, was incorrect; that the newspaper allegation that my ‘reports’ to the public had “no roots in reality” was incorrect and, more seriously, this newspaper statement reinforces the opinion that the ‘reports’ were the work of a madman; that Heidi had refused to go into details of the contents of my ‘reports’ but that much of the veracity of the ‘report’ had been confirmed in Dr. Broch’s testimony. Further, that references to “a secret telephone number and address” in the context of the article reinforced the false impressions given by the rest of the article. (No documentary evidence was given as to Heidi’s address being “secret”). That the phrase Heidi and I “drank tea together a couple of times” (in England when we met) as per the Drammens Tidende article of July 1998, trivialised the actual contact and again reinforced the impression that I was a madman; that there was “never any romantic attachment” was incorrect as the evidence showed the contrary was the case; that the harassment “increased in extent” when Heidi got married was false as the increase in contact had to do with my need to know the reason for my arrest in 1990 and it was a coincidence that this took place after Heidi married; that the Drammens Tidende article could have been done in a more balanced way without defaming me; that all the articles printed were read out to Heidi and she didn’t correct any of them. Lunde finished off by quoting examples in Norway where the press hadn’t first checked the facts of articles they printed. I thought Lunde’s summing up was excellent.
The defence lawyer then began his summing up. He first emphasised the fact that I’d obtained a criminal conviction the previous November and a 10,000 kroner fine and that, in spite of this conviction, I’d proceeded to fax the whole of Drammen and his office my point by point response to the Drammens Tidende article of November 17th 2001. (In fact only 200 or so of the faxes got through). The judge then spoke up to ask me why after my conviction I did another campaign. I told him that I did it in accordance with my right to reply and that it was indeed no coincidence that I’d sent my statement to Vegard Aaløkken’s office, the reason being that he had misled the public by stating in the newspapers that “Heidi was glad the Court believed her”, when he himself was not present at my criminal trial the previous October and was only relying on the word of Heidi, and that as my offence was one of strict liability there was no alternative to my being convicted. Aaløkken followed on by saying that both Heidi and Torill Sorte stated in 1997 statements that they both spoke to my mother, who told Sorte in particular she had put me into a mental hospital. And further that I had insisted to know what kind of underwear Heidi was wearing.
On a surprising departure, Aaløkken then climbed down on several points.He agreed that there was no basis for the newspaper saying that “300 letters” were sent to Heidi Schøne from 1997 to 1998. He also agreed that it was not proven that for 16 years I had been “obsessed” with Heidi and had “wanted to marry her” throughout this period as alleged by the press. He also agreed that it was not true that the extent of my “harassment” increased on her marriage to Runar Schøne; that the reference to (my alleged condition of extreme) erotic paranoia in the July 1998 Drammens Tidende article was not Heidi’s responsibility; that Nils Rettersdøl had (in the Verdens Gang article in May 1995) stated he was speaking “generally” and not about my specific case; that as Heidi had not herself made the statements in the 1998 article that were false, she herself must be found ‘not guilty’ of the charges; that although there was no documentary evidence to corroborate the defence claim that there was 16 years of sex-terror, “proof ” in Norwegian law doesn’t have to be documentary. (I could have jumped out of the window on hearing this. He was no doubt relying on the testimony of his witnesses as being ‘safe’ evidence).
There was then a break for five minutes after which Stig Lunde was to be allowed a reply. I told Lunde that it was grossly unfair for the defence to put in evidence two 1997 police witness statements, sent on 13th January 2002 to the Court. One was a 1997 report by Torill Sorte of the Drammen police which stated that in 1992 my mother spoke to Heidi Schøne and my mother allegedly told Heidi that if I didn’t “stop” my harassment my mother would do all she could to see I went to a mental hospital. The other was a 1997 report by Torill Sorte stating that Sorte herself had spoken to my mother who told her I had been “put” in a mental hospital. So I told Lunde to ask the judge to ignore these ‘Reports’ as I had had no opportunity to consider and rebut them. Lunde agreed it was essential to put this to the judge.
So in his reply Stig Lunde made three points:-
• that the two 1997 mental hospital ‘Reports’ of Police Sergeant Torill Sorte should be withdrawn from evidence as they were sprung on me by being submitted in evidence three days before the trial started.
• that in relation to identification of myself by readers of the 1995 articles who knew both Heidi and/or myself wherein I was identified as the “Muslim, English lawyer”, her friends and acquaintances would realise that there was only one such person that Heidi knew, further increasing my chances of being recognised, which applied • also for the words “half-German, half-Arab”; and
• that Heidi should pay damages to me because she was responsible for using the media in such a deceitful way.
Defence counsel then got up to agree that the 1997 mental hospital ‘Reports’ should not be considered in evidence as they came in to Court too late. So the Judge agreed that he would not take them into account.
The trial had now ended.
I saw Lunde off in his taxi and hugged him with genuine gratitude for all that he’d done for me. He had got up at 4.30 a.m. that day and did four hours work on his summing up prior to our 9 a.m. start. He was a lawyer with a cool head and a mind that could take in huge amounts of information without overloading and exploding. Essential ingredients for a courtroom lawyer.
That same night I took the train from Drammen Railway Station to Sandefjord and then the coach to Torp airport to take the 10 p.m. plane back to Stansted in Essex. I was pretty confident I wouldn’t be prevented from leaving Norway without first being asked to pay my 10,000 kroner fine, imposed by the Magistrates Court the previous autumn.
After getting home, on the following Tuesday, my incensed mother wrote to Judge Stilloff asking him to throw the book at policewoman Torill Sorte for lying on oath about her “conversation” on the mental hospital incarceration.