The Norwegian Newspaper Varden reported on Tuesday that an unnamed man in Telemark, Norway, was fined late last year for agreeing to perform a contract killing and then not following through with it. Essentially, they're punishing someone for not committing murder.
The person behind the deal was a 21-year-old who wanted to kill the 17-year-old who had rebuffed his romantic advances but apparently lacked the nerve to go through with it himself. Instead, he offered 60,000 kroner, or about $8,000—along with some knives—to a friend, who agreed to perform the murder, but then apparently kept delaying it, until it became clear he wasn't going to do it.
Records show the "principal" badgering his would-be assassin over SMS, sending texts (in Norwegian) like, "Why's he still alive??? Can't you do your job!!!" "He should have been killed!!! Quit making excuses. Why the hell isn't it done?"
It can take some doing to figure out how to charge criminals with crimes against other criminals, but the law often finds a way. In 2010, a North Carolina man was sentenced to 24 years for defrauding a drug dealer. But in that instance, the crime involved making counterfeit money and illegal possession of a firearm. Perhaps a more similar case was that of Bill Simon Jr., a California politician who mishandled a drug dealer's investments and was sued by the dealer. A jury ruled in the plaintiff's favor, and told Simon to pay $78 million, but that jury's ruling was eventually overturned.
According to the Varden article, the Norwegian would-be Léon eventually said he could only beat up the 17-year-old, but that he knew someone who would do the job for an additional $5,000. Vestfold-Telemark District Attorney Per Halsborg said that the man didn't just get cold feet, but deliberately entered into a contract under false pretenses, and is therefore guilty of fraud.
That wouldn't pass muster under British Common Law, where such a contract would be termed an "illegal agreement," and typically both parties would be considered in " pari delicto," or equally at fault. There are circumstances where an illegal contract might be honored, such as when there's a formal contract, and the "impact of forfeiture outweighs illegality." You can see that it gets pretty murky.
What's not murky is that it's illegal to hire a hit man no matter where you are, and the 21-year-old was found guilty of attempted conspiracy to commit murder and sentenced to two years in prison.
The fine that the would-be contract killer was hit with, according to a story in Sunnmørsposten,was 10,000 kroner, or just over $1,200.
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