A case

November 8th, 2009

Extreme Case of Blind Group Violence at NHH

Stop Violence is a case in how anyone, at any place and time, can be exposed to unprovoked and extreme violence that within seconds can turn your life around. This site tell the story of how a great school like NHH, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration, with a superb student community and talented, intelligent students can be the place of brutal violence. There are no business school in Norway more popular, admired and respected than NHH. Only 1 out of 10 students are accepted, and you need a B average to enter master level at the 4th year. NHH has long traditions, and is known for the student engagement and their popular arrangements.
All this make it hard to understand understand how it also can be the place for extreme violence. Especially blind, unprovoked violence. And to make matters worse: 5 well-established students against a fresh student, that is just doing his best to integrate and make new friends in a new city.

The dreadful chain of events that to the tragic event at NHH September 7th 2008 can be linked to one thing that NHH is famous for: Alcohol. Alcohol can make seemingly intelligent and rational people do things that is beyound what is normally understandable and comprehendible. And this night is the most alcholized arrangement during a whole year at NHH. It is called "Reversibel Sveiseaften" (reversible meldingnight), were students pay around 1000 NOK to make a party. There are weeks of planning prior to this event, and a cases upon cases of beers is bought in advance to be used in drinking games that start at 3 pm on a Saturday. Some people drink for up to 16 hours this day. Those involved in the violent episode had been drinking for numerous hours before the happy athmosphere took a violent turn at around 5:30 am. For no apperent reason were I asked to leave the nachspiel (afterparty), upon which I requested a reason after finding myself in the hallway outside the room surrounded by 5 people. I were presented an excuse about me taking pictures, which I instantly knew was total rubbish - since I was not taking any pictures as I was asked to leave, and it was something like 20 minutes since I took my last picture. The whole thing was a big mystery to me. I suddenly found myself in the hallway with 5 strangers that didn't want me there anymore, and I couldn't even figure out what I had done wrong. I was not able to figure that they actually didn't have a good and valid reason to throw me out, and that they just did it to exercise the power they had over the room - simply for the fun of it.

Now, this is when the situation started to come out of control. I've heard from other students that these people can decide to throw out people for any kind of reason. One friend were sitting there, talking with two girls - one on each side, telling a story. While doing that, he were sent to the hallway with the false accusation that he spilled a beer on the floor. It is only natural to assume that these Direksjonsmusikken guys (with the white and black stripes) wanted the girls to themselves, and basically just got rid of the competition.
While the initial motivation were to get a kick out of exercising power, a very short guy among those 5 people ran out of patience while I was trying to get to the core of the underlying problem - in attempt to even out of differences, and make friends with these people. He cannot be more than 160 cm, so it is safe to assume that he is suffering for some little-man complexes, and realized that the setting was perfect to improve his self-esteem. Since he was surrounded by 4 tall, well-trained and strong friends - he knew that they would come to rescue if the situation turned bad. Glenn, highly influenced by alcohol, had strongly reduced abilities to analyse and think rationally. In addition, the immense amount alcohol had made him more unhibited - so that any idea, good or bad, have a tendency to be executed without further reasoning. So Glenn attacked me and broke our peaceful discussion. I was in shock. I wouldn't have thought in my wildest dreams that someone would exersice violence at the premisise of their own school. I guess I underestimated the effects of large quantity of alcohol. So I was faced with a difficult situation. When someone attack you, even though you are a non-violent person - you would want to minimize physical damanages. In my attempts to protect myself, if something should happen to Glenn, then his 4 friends would do a 10-fold revenge - making the situation further accellerate out of control. While Glenn is small, and therefore have a limited capability to inflict damange - he did manage to put me to the ground. This went on for some time before his friend, Henrik, decided he should do something to help his friend. So while I'm on the ground, he acts in the moment and takes his best shot at me - kicking me in the face, while I'm helplessly down on the ground.

I was put in an office, where a security guard gave me something to stop the bleeding. Still in shock, and confused about what just had happened, I was sent out - unaware of the severity of my damage. The guard didn't say anything about seeking medical assistance, or attempt to get me a taxi so I could get to the emergency. Instead, I was just excorted out of the building.
Only after returning home were I able to see myself in the mirror, did it become apparent to me that I had a huge cut next to my right eye. Being new in the city, I didn't have any idea were to find the emergency. I didn't even have any number for calling a taxi. And I was very tired past 6 am, so I decided to get a few hours sleep - and figure out where and how I would have to go the next day.

I told the doctor that I had been kicked in the face at a nachspiel, and he did his best stitching it back together. He made 5 stitches, and having to deal with problems like dead skin that he first had to cut out and skin that were missing. My eye started to swell, and I looked like hell that week going around at school. The swelling didn't go away, and the worst-case scenary was a fact - the wound had gotten infected, and I needed daily treatment by professionals to make sure that I wouldn't go blind on my right eye. It stayed infected for 10 days, and I were given one helping stitch before leaving it to heal itself. I remember getting that stitch without anastasia, which hurt like hell. While the skin eventually healed, it remained highly visible - and is still very much visible a year after being a victim of this unprovoked, brutal and totally unjustified act of violence.

There were a meeting between me and those involved, with "Kjernestyret" (Top level student organisation at NHH) present. A report were made, and nothing else happened. The meeting was set up because Henrik wanted to say sorry, but it became clear to me that he only made contact to find out how much I remember of the episode and to put a lid on it by establishing a more personal contact. I also knew before the meeting that they would try to paint a better picture of themselves, since nobody in their right mind would come forward with what actually had happened - if they still wanted to have a future at NHH. Given that there were no external witnesses to the episode, the risk of presenting a cover-up story were practically non-existant. So before the meeting started, I gave them all a chance to come with a clean story - if not, I would press charges. We all knew that at least Henrik had broken the law, and he had practically made a confession by admitting to have caused my servere injury - that was just 1 cm away from making me go blind. While the others might be found guilty in being accessory to the crime.

Since the police are restricted on resources and that the defendant already had confessed to a crime, they did a sloppy job in their investigation. They used my testimony to determine who to call in for interview, which ended up being only those five involved. While their story involved many people at the nachspiel that were not present during the episode, the police thought they had enough to go get Henrik convicted from his own confession - despite of a long list I had made for the police of these people that could disconfirm the cover-up story. These people were never called in for testimony, which was the only hope I had to get out there what really happpened. Restrained by resources, the police instead pursued the confession - using that as the basis for what happened, in hopes to get a conviction. Resources demanded to pursue my version were substantial, and would more like cause a higher uncertainty to the court regarding chain of events - which would damage the police's probability of getting Henrik convicted for a confessed crime.

The first level court (Tingretten) were divided in two, with the professional judge basing her ruling of guilty on norwegian law and the two civil judges on the other side - clearly ignoring the law in their ruling.
The defendant accused me in his testimony to first have hit him. But he was not able to remember which cheek that I supposedly hit when asked by the judges. Still, he was able to remember that it was so hard that it had swollen the day after!
Henrik explained in court that he stopped drinking around 10-11-12 pm. At direksjonsmusikken.com it is said about the defendant: "Direksjonsmusikken's Turbo-drinker puts his distinctive character on all the parties he is present, and he never goes home." Yet, in his statement, at the party of them all: Reversible Meldingnight, defendant says that he stopped drinking around 10-11-12 pm - while the fact is that everyone involved drank beer the whole night, as can be seen in this ablum. Image 3 clearly shows the defendant holding a beer at 04:27am, totally discrediting himself by telling something totally different to the court. The unlikelyness of Henrik of stopping his alcohol consumption at 10-11-12 pm is properly explained in this picture series - showing the excessive drinking culture that well describes the "Reversibel Sveiseaften"-party.
Henrik also explained in court that he pulled me against him before biting me in the eye, which is practically impossible. He cannot be taller than 180 cm. Henrik must have been at least 190 cm to reach that high! It is physically impossible for the defant to successfully inflict that kind of damage with his mouth when he is lower in height than me.

The 5 people involved are resourceful and well connected, so it seems that they have been able to influence the student paper of NHH to mock me (Image 6) with the sole intention of maximizing damamge. Their cover-up story is just ridiculous, calling the mocking for a satire [Witty language used to convey insults or scorn] with references to a 2001 front page of The Mirror. Nobody would know about this front page since 8 years had passed, and would therefore not be able to see the humor in pure mocking. The newspaper never made any attempts to use witty language, but still try to hind behind the story of it being a satire. There was strong reactions from the students, that did not feel identified with a student newspaper that mock fellow students, from the pricipal that defined such acts as damaging for NHH's reputation, from media experts that claim the mocking to damage the reputation of NHH and from Kjernestyret that were also concerned about how this would affect the reputation.

The case and the backside of the student newspaper generated a lot of buzz and media attention. Since the police had chosen to go with the confession due to restricted resources, which resulted in both the court and the media to publish his version - I felt largely ignored since I didn't have 4 friend to back up my story. Media became therefore my only channel for telling the story of what actually happenened, as an alternative to a loosy designed cover-up story made by 5 friends to minimize any legal actions and better protect themselves against damages to their reputation. NHH have a fairly small and closed community, so it would have devastating effects if the truth were to come out. But it is important to be careful when in contact with the media, since they will always to try to present the story from the most juicy angle - especially the tabloid media channels.

It was a victory in itself when the state choose to appeal the case to the next legal instance, based on the assessment of the professional judge. She made the only right interpretation of the law, no question about that. The state could not agree with the evaluation of the civil judges, which had no basis in the law. There was a new round October 19, 2009 - the second trail (Lagmannsretten). The result is exactly the same as with the first sentence, with the only exception that 3 professional judges voted for conviction and 4 civil judges voted against conviction. Clearly, when 100% of all legal judges in both trails vote for conviction - then it is just facinating that some civil judges can decide otherwise.

With such a divided result between professional and civil judges, the same arguments exist for appealling to the supreme court. First the state has to decide to go forward with the case, and then the appeal also has to be accepted. I grow up with the idea that live in the best country in the world, as confirmed by UN year after year, and I expect to have a huge safety net around me that catch me if something goes wrong. I except the justice system to prevail if someone do something illegally happens towards me. I expect my health to be taken care of and fixed without it being something that I have to pay a fortune for, or that I have to wait for ages to get the treatment I need. I expect media to dig deep, and search for the truth. And I except every illegal action to be pursued, not just those that are of public interest. I expect to be represented and consulted in case of a legal trail, and that I get the results before I am able to read them in the newspaper. All these experiences have made me learn a lot about the workings of our society, and I have adjusted my expectation to the cold society we live in - were money serve as the basis for most actions that are taken.

I have chosen to involve myself in the fight against violence, to present information about the whole process - so that if you one day wake up with a big cut, so severe that you need it stitched up, then you will know what to expect if you choose to enforce your citizen duty and press charges if you have been vitcim of any illegal actions.

Let me stress that I'm not at all a revengeful person. After my initial meeting with the defendant, it was clear that he did not understand the severity of his actions and my mind was not put at ease that he would not pose a threat to my fellow students. A person that is capable of kicking someone in the face while lying on the floor have some serious issues, regardless of the level of alcohol consumption, and is lacking a blocking that should be present in all humans. My citizen duty was to press charges, and it is the responsibility of the system to make him understand the severity of his actions. It is irrelevant for me if the punishment is in form of community servicem, jail or a fine. But the alternative is no conviction, which is signalling to the society that you can cause severe damage to other people with no repercussion. A strong signal to the defendant and the rest of the society that you are free to conduct severe facial damage with life lasting scars, as long as you create a cover-up story which claim self-defence. Even in a 5 against 1 situation, claims about self-defence becomes satisfactory for civil judges - even if the magnitude of the damage is totally out of proportion.

I do care about possiblity that I might not be Henrik's last victim, since I will have problems finding inner peace if for instance something fatal should to a fellow student during my stay at NHH. Then I will feel that I didn't do enough to prevent a repetitive pattern to develop. While it might be difficult to understand and to believe, fact is that I have nothing personally against Henrik. I don't believe Henrik to be an evil person, that enjoy being violent and causing other people damage. I'm by nature an understanding and tolerant person, with a problem-solving mindset. As such, I don't put blame or judge others, since that will not bring me a step closer to a solution. Visit the about me page to understand better my philosophical views on life, that enable me to wake up the next day - perfectly aware that I will have a scare for life - with no revengeful feelings whatsoever!

Quick Facts
Extreme Case of Blind Group Violence at NHH

General– General and legal facts

  • Anyone can become a victim of blind violence, at any place.
  • If charges are filed, your only involvement will be as a witness in future trials
  • You will be asked by the police to make a financial claim, which has to be rigiously documented.
  • Documentation is important, because that is basically what will constitute your compensation
  • If you are a student, your time is worth nothing due to lack of salary.
  • Without salary, you cannot document loss of income - so spending a day in court will not be compensated
  • Even with salary, if you go to the doctor to stitch up a cut - you will not be entitled to compensation for those lost hours of your time
  • As a student, you have no legal right for compensation if you have to wait 2 hours to get a simple wound check
  • As a witness, you take no part in preparations for the trail or the decision to appeal
  • If a conviction is appealed, you will have to expect at least a year to have your expenses reimbursed
  • It usually takes about 6 months before first trial initiates, and yet another 6 months if appealed
  • The defendant is legally protected when lying in court, even though he incriminates others in what might be a false testimony
  • The court can totally ignore a documented claim with receipts, without providing any reason what-so-ever, and with no chance of appeal
  • The court's main interest is not in the individuals innocence, but to establish if a person is guilty of breaking norwegian law - and to find an appropriate sentence
  • The court is there to serve public interest, to keep criminals from repeatedly violating norwegian law
  • The court accept that individuals will remain victims both to the violence and financial losses, by enforcing strict documentation requirements and by not acknowledging non-economic losses - putting the resposibility on the individual to prove, beyond doubt, every actual incured loss
  • A police service low on resources, combined with a legal system putting high demands on documented evidence - give strong protection to the criminals, especially in cases where the defendant can lie about what happened
  • A legal system that can be overruled by civil judges are of little to no value, when they can totally ignore the law
  • After two appeals, you can have 100% support from professional judges - but that will be of no value if you have 0% support from civil judges

Alcohol– Consumption and false testimony

  • The defendant can lie in court and incriminate others while doing so, fully protected legally
  • Witnesses, on the other hand, risk up to 5 years prison if not the truth and anything but the truth is presented in court
  • As such, the defendant is practically encouraged to lie - while the witnesses, me included, have to be very careful not to stay anything that can be proven false
  • Henrik explained in court that he stopped drinking around 10-11-12 pm
  • Fact is that everyone involved drank beer the whole night, as can be seen in this ablum
  • Image 3 clearly shows the defendant holding a beer at 04:27am, totally discrediting himself by telling something totally different to the court
  • At direksjonsmusikken.com it is said about the defendant: "Direksjonsmusikken's Turbo-drinker puts his distinctive character on all the parties he is present, and he never goes home."
    Yet, in his statement, at the party of them all: Reversible Meldingnight, defendant says that he stopped drinking around 10-11-12.
  • This picture series shows the excessive drinking culture that well describes the "Reversibel Sveiseaften"-party

Violence– The kick

  • Harald Hornes Øyen is instructed by a G4S Security Guard to break up the party at around 05:30, since the building will soon be closed
  • Since Harald have been a commissioned officer in military, you might wonder if he enjoys having a position that enables him to exercise authoritative power, based on his background and behavior at the night in question
  • Harald mobilize his friends, and use them as backup as he informs me my presence is no longer wanted
  • Perfectly aware of the absolute power they have over their own room, I calmly walk the 3 meters distance to the hallway
  • Still, curious as I am by nature, I ask in a polite manner what wrongdoing I have done to deserve such a hostile attitude
  • As I realize that there is nothing "wrong", I do my best to ease the atmospheric tension
  • It appears that Glenn Kvisler is aware of his size and therefore employs the presence of his four friends to serve as protection in his unfounded assault against me
  • Henrik Johan Molnes, becomes an accomplice at this point by joining Kvisler in the assault, as he use the opportunity of me lying on the floor to kick me in the face
  • Having realized the severity of what just happened - I was simply sent out, not assisted to medical attention of any kind
  • I am lucky to get away with only an ugly cut, after such a kick, since probability of brain damage and entering a state of vegetable is very high

Health– 5 stitches, infection and psoriasis

  • The kick resulted in a serious cut, next to my eye, which needed 5 stitches
  • 2 stitches is the requirement for being guilty in damaging another persons body (legemsbeskadigelse)
  • 5 stitches can be punished with up to 3 years according to § 229.
  • Cut resulting from kick and human bite will most certainly result in an infection due to high bacterial levels
  • An infection need treatments with high levels of antibiotica for a prolonged period, and daily monitoring by medical personnel if risk of going blind
  • Every visit cost around 200 NOK
  • Psoriasis emerged after the traumatizing and psychological effects of the violent episode, which is known to be a common cause of psoriasis when the genetical disposition is present.
  • This is confirmed by a skin specialist in his diagnosis
  • I was unable to go on vacation summer 2009, due to inability to expose my scar to sun during the first year
  • More than one year later, my scar is highly visible and still red - something I'll have to live with for the rest of my life

Demand– Compensation and media attention

  • High probability of failure to complete master degree due to limited funds
  • Being self-financed, I could only afford to stay in Bergen for 2 semesters, so I would have to complete master in half the time
  • The violent cut, and consequent meetings, emails, police visits, countless medical visits, etc. all reduced my possibility to complete my master in two semester with a decent average
  • The financial crisis further reduced possibility, increasing the demand for higher average
  • Risk of failing to complete master was accounted for, and difference in salary between bachelor and master was demanded
  • I had learned in a course of negotiation at NHH about the importance of an initial high demand, which was unproblematic for me when estimating a lifetime of bachelor salary versus master salary
  • Expected compensation will according to current practice, result in about 15.000 NOK, a ridiculously low amount considering all the work there is in documenting all incured expenses
  • In the Compensation Committee for Victims of Violence's case ENV-2005-1985 was an applicant after a brutal assault incurred several fractions in the face and ribs, in addition to dental injuries. Despite the severe damages, the Compensation Committee found that an appropriate compensation would be 15 000 NOK.
  • While compensation should be above the lower range due to the cosmetic consequences of the damage I incurred, my expected compensation would still be less than 15.000 NOK
  • I reasoned that the risk of presenting a high demand was nonresistant due to the low expected compensation levels
  • Since I was expecting the whole case to be dismissed by the police, and certainly not expecting the case going to court due to the confession, I was unaware of the publicity such a demand could generate
  • Tabloid coverage of the story, presented the demand out of context - unable to convey the complex background and assumptions behind the demand
  • Most people will start to misunderstand when complexity increases, especially if only source of information is through the media. Fueled by tabloid misrepresentation of something shown out of context, most people actually get upset by the possibility that their tax-money being used to pay the demand.
  • The demand is limited to how much financial assets the defendant have and the ruling of the court, so in that sense is my demand is more symbolic - not expected and certainly not realistic.
  • While still including the high probability of failing to get a master degree, I would have adjusted the demand to more realistic levels if I had suspected the demand to reach the public - precisely because numerous misunderstandings would arise
  • Since civil judges ignored the law, and let Henrik go home free of charge - compensation was limited to expenses I could document at that time. My total expenses are much higher, which I will not get covered - since second court instance choose to review question of guilt in the appeal, and to ignore changes of an appropriate compensation if found guilty

Police– Limited resources and a confession

  • After calling the police, I was informed that it would help a lot of I could generate a list of people involved and possible witnesses
  • I facilitated the job for the police, which I know have limited resources, by providing a list of people involved in the violence and possible witnesses
  • My only hope of a fair and balanced trial faded was broken, when the police resorted to only interview those involved - and thereby only calling them to witness in court
  • Since the cover-up story takes place inside Rum where the nachspiel took place, there would probably be people admitting to the violent event taking place outside when interviewed by the police - despite their personal relationship to the defendant and others involved
  • The police creating a very skewed presentation of what actually happened, making the situation biased for the judges set to make a neutral ruling when the police basically support the defendant when only him and his friends are there to tell the story in addition to me
  • The police is happy with the confession, and choose to go forward with the case knowing that Henrik clearly have broken the law expecting full support by professional judges
  • Limited resources cause the police to gamble on the support by civil judges as well without further investigation, hoping that the professional judges will influence them into voting on the basis of the law
  • The police managed to double-book the prosecutor that was supposed to lead the case in the appeal, so that a new attorney had less than a week to update himself
  • The prosecutor undermined their case when he expressed in court that he did not believe we would see Henrik in the legal system again, or that he would even be issued a fine

Media– Tabloids and PFU

  • BA, the biggest tabloid newspaper in Bergen, were the only newspaper paying attention to the violence taking place at NHH as seen in this article
  • Since the first article was serious and of high standard, I didn't hesitate answering questions after the trial
  • When I found myself on the frontpage of BA, I was reminded of the tabloid nature of BA
  • BA is without competition the most tabloid newspaper in Norway, specialized in blowing stories out of their proportions and engaging in creative story-telling to maximize newspaper sales
  • NHH's student paper made a serious mocking back page, totally alienating themselves from NHH students who condemn such attacks on a fellow student
  • While the backpage typically is funny, nobody has succeeded in finding any type of humor - expect maybe those who find extreme mocking amusing
  • The editor, Andreas Landsverk Farberg, even alienated himself from many journalists by letting that back page go to print
  • Not surprisingly, Andreas Landsverk Farberg only held his position as editor for one period
  • Pressens Faglige Utvalg (PFU - Media's own committee) discredited themselves by not condemning a clearly illegal conduct
  • Editor Farberg clearly violated §247 in criminal code that can be punished with up to two years prison if a persons honor is violated in a published paper

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