Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Martin Bryant

No Laughing Matter

In the weeks and months following the massacre, Bryant was subjected to four major psychological examinations but, despite theories that he may be suffering from schizophrenia and a personality disorder called Asperger Syndrome which resulted in "inappropriate mannerisms and actions," Martin Bryant was declared legally sane and fit to stand trial.

In an earlier police interview, when asked the reasons for his actions, a smiling Bryant said, "I'd really love to help you out, but I can't."

The trial began on November 7, where evidence was heard relating to the slaughter. Some of the most disturbing being when eye witnesses related the hideous injuries inflicted upon their friends and families by Bryant who was described as a "laughing, maniacal fool" during the shootings. During the entire trial, including the screening of an amateur video of part of the shooting frenzy, Bryant continued to smile and, on more than one occasion, laughed openly. He continued to smile several days later when the jury handed down a guilty verdict after which he was sentenced to life imprisonment with no possibility of parole.

Bryant's cell.
Bryant's cell.

Martin Bryant is now housed in Hobart's Risdon prison under protective custody. His mother who, apart from his defense counsel, was Martin's only visitor during the trial, later told interviewers that she wished her son had died along with his victims. When asked how Martin was adapting to life in prison, she answered, "He's his usual self, he's smiling and laughing.


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