Norway Justice Minister’s Partner Arrested With Accusation of Setting Their Own Car on Fire

Norway Police Intelligence Service (PST) has charged Laila Anita Bertheussen, the partner of the Norwegian Minister of Justice and Public Security, with the accusation of faking an attack on their family car.

PST wrote on its website today that the arrest is related to violation of section 225 letter b of the Penal Code – for having done something to raise suspicion that criminal act has been committed, when it has not.

The charges concern the fire that started on the night between Saturday and Sunday 10 March in the family car, which was parked outside the family´s residence in Oslo.

“We suspect the charged person to have started the fire, thus giving the impression that the fire was started by one or more unknown perpetrators”, wrote PST.

This incident is seen in connection with previously alleged threats against the Minister of Justice and his partner, where the charged person may have caused the police to investigate this incident, as an escalation of the previous threats. PST will continue to investigate these former incidents as violations of section 115 and 263 of the Penal Code.

The investigation is in a preliminary phase, and Laila Bertheussen is currently being questioned by PST. The offence can, under the circumstances, be punishable under several other penal provisions.

Today, Oslo District Court issued a warrant to search the the justice minister’s residence. The court thus finds that there are reasonable grounds to suspect Berhetussen of the offence with which she is charged.

Section 225 – Accusation of a fictitious criminal act

A penalty of a fine or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 1 year shall be applied to any person who

a) reports a criminal act which has not been committed to the courts, the prosecuting authority or another public authority, or

b) raises suspicion that a criminal act has been committed, when it has not.

The incident was the fifth known “threat” associated with Wara’s home since December last year. In addition, there have been several incidents that have so far been kept secret by the police and PST.

Thursday afternoon, PST chief Benedicte Bjørnland held a press conference where they informed about the charge against the cohabitant.

Bertheussen is not charged with any of the previous incident at the residence, but PST does not rule out that they can have a connection.

The penalty for the charge is one year’s imprisonment.

About the incident

The house and car shared by Justice Minister Tor Mikkel Wara and Bertheussen have been vandalised at least five times in recent months after a theatre targeting the right wing politician and Justice Minister Benedicte Bjørnland. They have included tagging that seemed to accuse Wara of being racist, and two bomb threats.

Since some of the tagging included misspellings of the Norwegian word for racist, others have speculated that it could have been made to look as if non-Norwegians were behind it. PST now investigates the tagging and the earlier incidents also in relation to the recent accusations against the partner of the justice minister.

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