Geir Lippestad

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Geir Lippestad
Advokat Geir Lippestad.jpg
Born (1964-06-07) June 7, 1964 (age 50)
Alma mater University of Oslo
Occupation Lawyer
Known for Attorney for Anders Behring Breivik
Religion Christian[1]
Spouse(s) Signe Lippestad (neé Husebye)
Children Kristiane
Eirik
Ulrikke
Rebekka (deceased)
Josefine
Mie
Madicken

Geir Lippestad (born 7 June 1964) is a Norwegian lawyer and social activist. He is most known for his involvement in several high profile legal cases. As a criminal appellate lawyer, he first became known in 2001 when he acted as defence counsel following the murder of Benjamin Hermansen. In 2011 he became known internationally for being the lead counsel for the perpetrator of the 2011 Norway attacks, Anders Behring Breivik.

Early life and education[edit]

Geir Lippestad was born 7 June 1964 in Hønefoss, in the Ringerike district in Buskerud county. His parents, originally from Nordstrand in Oslo had moved to the village of Heradsbygd outside of Hønefoss, where his father worked as an engineer. When Lippestad was six years old, the family of five moved back to Nordstrand.[2] After finishing high school he enrolled in the University of Oslo, studying law. He obtained the cand.jur. degree in the autumn of 1990.[3]

Legal career[edit]

After graduating and receiving his law degree in 1990, Lippestad was employed at a small law-firm in Harestua, a small rural town outside of Oslo. Later he moved to the Association of Norwegian Insurance Companies, where he worked as a legal counsel. Afterwards he, along with a colleagues, started a private law-firm based in Nedre Slottsgate street in down-town Oslo.[4] It was while working here that Lippestad first came to the national spotlight, when he represented Ole Nicolai Kvisler, who was later convicted of participation in the racially motivated murder of Benjamin Hermansen in 2002.[5][6][7] Kvisler received a 17-year prison sentence.

Three years later, Lippestad left the firm when he was appointed secretary-general at the National Association of the Hearing Impaired (Norwegian: Hørselshemmedes Landsforbund), Lippestad applied to this position due to his daughter Rebekka, who was born with a severe hearing impairment.[4] In 2009 he was one of the contenders for the position of Gender Equality and Anti-Discrimination Ombud, but lost to Sunniva Ørstavik. He then decided to return to private practice and in 2010 he opened his own law-firm called Advokatkontoret Lippestad AS.[4]

In July 2011, he was appointed as defence counsel for Anders Behring Breivik, the perpetrator of the 2011 Norway attacks, after the latter specifically requested him.[5][8][9] His co-lead counsel was Vibeke Hein Bæra, and they are assisted by two assistant counsels, all of whom are employed at his law firm.[10] Following the Breivik case, Lippestad expanded his law-firm, hired new staff and opened another branch in Skien, which will serve as the main office.[11][12]

Activism[edit]

Politics[edit]

Lippestad is an active member of the Norwegian Labour Party, and has been deputy chair of its Nordstrand local chapter.[13] In April 2013, he was invited as a keynote speaker at the annual Labour party congress. During his speech to the delegates, he spoke about humanity and human values.[14] He sharply criticised the treatment of Roma people in the city of Oslo.[15]

In December 2013, Lippestad was appointed chairman of the new left-wing think tank Agenda.[16] The new think-tank was established with support from the trade union centre as well as the Labour party and intended as a left-wing counter-weight to the influential liberal think-tank Civita.[17]

In 2014 it was revealed that the Labour Party was considering Lippestad as a mayoral candidate for Oslo in the 2015 local elections due to him being a highly respected person who could possibly rival the popular incumbent conservative mayor Fabian Stang.[18] The Labour party had not had a mayor of Oslo in 20 years, and a majority of the Oslo chapter felt that Lippestad possessed the "broad appeal" necessary to pose serious challenge to mayor Stang.[19]

Other[edit]

An outspoken advocate for the right of people with physical disabilities, especially children, Lippestad was in 2014 awarded the "Defender of Human Life" award by the Pro-Life organisation Menneskeverd. In its citation, the jury wrote that the Lippestad couple reflects a set of values where respect and an unwavering belief in human life, no matter what situation you are in, is the basis.[20] At the event, Lippestad called for a reduction in the number of abortions, he also spoke out against what he believes is an expectation from society that parents should abort foetuses with genetic disorders.[21] In 2013 he was appointed chairman of the Kirkens Familievern Foundation, a charity which aims to promote family values, as well as offer assistance to families or couples. Its activities also includes strengthening the family, marriage, parenting, relationship and singles' position in the church and society.[22]

He is chairman of Youth For Understanding in Norway, an organization which promotes international peace and tolerance, by exchange programs.[23][24]

Personal life[edit]

Geir Lippestad is married to registered nurse Signe Lippestad (née Husebye).[25] Combined they have eight children, two of them together, Lippestad has two from his previous marriage, and his wife has four from her previous marriage.[4] The entire family resides in the Nordstrand suburb in southern Oslo.[26]

Two of the children were born with disabilities and one of them, 16-year-old Rebekka, was critically ill early in 2012, in the midst of Lippestad's preparations for the Breivik trial. She pulled through the crisis which also coincided with Lippestad's wife giving birth to a baby girl, Mille Madicken. Rebekka died on June 14, 2013.[27]

Before the trial Lippestad told the French newspaper Le Monde: "I feel I have lost my soul in this case [...] I hope to get it back once it's over – and that it will be in the same condition as before." [10]

Honours and awards[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lundgren, Charlotte. "Geir Lippestad om livet og kjærligheten". Bufetat.no. Retrieved 5 February 2014. 
  2. ^ Christensen, Anne. "Lippestad på gamle trakter". Ringblad.no. Retrieved 5 February 2014. 
  3. ^ "Cand. jur. – Oslo" (in Norwegian). Norwegian News Agency. 1991-02-02. "Ferdige cand.jur. høsten 1990 ved Universitetet i Oslo: Til sammen 163 har avlagt juridisk embetseksamen ved Universitetet i Oslo høstsemesteret 1990. [...] Geir Lippestad" 
  4. ^ a b c d Opedal, Hallgeir. "Spesialoppdraget". Dagbladet.no. Retrieved 5 February 2014. 
  5. ^ a b "Geir Lippestad forsvarer terrorsiktet". Aftenposten. Retrieved 2011-07-30. 
  6. ^ "Norway killer's lawyer Geir Lippestad defended neo-Nazi". The Telegraph. 2011-07-26. Retrieved 2011-07-30. 
  7. ^ "Geir Lippestad, defender of Norway's 'indefensible' gunman". Montrealgazette.com. Retrieved 2011-07-30. 
  8. ^ "Norway mourns victims of anti-Islam "Crusader"". Ca.news.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2011-07-30. 
  9. ^ Winger, Alexander (2011-07-23). "Massemorderens advokat: I hans hode var det nødvendig". Nettavisen. Retrieved 2011-07-30. 
  10. ^ a b "The ordeal of defending Norway's mass killer". Reuters. March 26, 2012. Retrieved March 27, 2012. 
  11. ^ Eide, Hans. "Lippestad etablerer seg i Skien Advokatfirmaet har kjøpt Borgengården i dag.". Varden.no. Retrieved 5 February 2014. 
  12. ^ Moen, Silje-Carine. "Her er Lippestads nye kontor". Retrieved 5 February 2014. 
  13. ^ "Breivik erkjenner massedrap". NRK. Retrieved 2011-07-30. 
  14. ^ "Lippestad møtte Ap-landsmøtet". Adressa.no. Retrieved 5 February 2014. 
  15. ^ Karlsen, Kristen. "- Jeg er stolt og ydmyk". Retrieved 5 February 2014. 
  16. ^ "Lippestad blir tenketank-leder". Dagbladet.no. Retrieved 5 February 2014. 
  17. ^ Kagge, Gunnar. "Lippestad skal lede sosialdemokratisk tenketank". Aftenposten.no. Retrieved 5 February 2014. 
  18. ^ Fossen, Cato Husabø (22 January 2014). (in Norwegian). NRK http://www.nrk.no/norge/lippestad-kan-bli-oslo-ordforer-1.11475331. Retrieved 31 January 2014.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  19. ^ "Bred støtte til Geir Lippestad". Nrk.no. Retrieved 5 February 2014. 
  20. ^ "Lippestad tildeles Livsvernpris". Vårt Land. Retrieved 5 February 2014. 
  21. ^ "Geir Lippestad: – Færre aborter bør være et felles mål". Vårt Land. Retrieved 5 February 2014. 
  22. ^ "Geir Lippestad blir styreleder i Kirkens Familievern". vårt Land. Retrieved 5 February 2014. 
  23. ^ "Landsstyrets medlemmer". Youth For Understanding. 2009-12-31. Retrieved 2011-07-30. 
  24. ^ Herrmann, Gunnar (27 July 2011). "Verteidiger Lippestad – eine seltsame Wahl". Süddeutschen Zeitung (online) (in German). Retrieved 2011-07-30. 
  25. ^ Gunnersen, Anja. "Ekteparet Lippestad fikk pris: – Nesten litt uvirkelig". Tv2.no. Retrieved 5 February 2014. 
  26. ^ Glomnes, Lars. "NRK: Lippestad ønsket som Oslo-ordfører". Osloby.no. Retrieved 5 February 2014. 
  27. ^ Falch-Olsen, Ida. "Geir Lippestads datter er død". tv2.no. Retrieved 5 February 2014. 
  28. ^ Vikås, Marianne. "Geir Lippestad kåret til Årets Navn i VG". Vg.no. Retrieved 5 February 2014.