There is no disputing that this is the trial of the century in Denmark – no, make that the millennium.
Proceedings in the case against Danish submariner Peter Madsen, who stands accused of murdering Swedish journalist Kim Wall on his vessel last August, officially began today at 09:33 at Courtroom 60 in Copenhagen City Court when the judge, Anette Burkø, took to the floor.
In the history of mankind, only one other Dane runs Madsen close for the amount of worldwide interest his trial has generated: Claus von Bülow. They made a movie about that, and one already suspects there will be more than a few made about this case.
Media in heavy numbers
As befitting of our modern media age, the likes of DR, and a number of other Danish and international media, will be dedicating many of their resources to covering the trial, with live feeds detailing every single moment.
Already today, we have learned that Madsen is in court and is wearing a black t-shirt, jeans and glasses. Kim Wall’s parents have also arrived, along with five other members of her family, but they will not sit in the courtroom. Instead they will view proceedings from a private room normally reserved for judges.
Members of the media will take 20 of the 36 seats in the court. The rest of the press, another 105 journalists from 15 different countries – including Israel, the United States, China, France and Austria – are watching in an exclusive lounge with a live feed to the trial.
Just four seats in the courtroom are available to the public, and the queue started at 04:00.
Prosecutor’s opening address ongoing
Moments ago, the list of charges was read out, and Madsen confirmed he was pleading not guilty to the charge of murder. However, he did plead guilty to some of the lesser charges, such as violating the Maritime Act.
Prosecutor Jakob Buch-Jepsen is currently making his opening address – it is expected to last two hours.
Buch-Jepsen argues that Madsen is guilty of premeditated murder – a crime he had been planning before they went onboard. Already there have been revelations. For example, Buch-Jepsen reveals that Wall and Madsen had never met before, and that they had only had a few brief exchanges via social media and then by phone.
Betina Hald Engmark, meanwhile, will present the defence. The case is scheduled to end on April 25.