Three men were charged, but released hours later after a man in his forties died during a Christmas office party in Melbu, North Norway.
The three men remain charged for the victim's injures, leading to his death.
Police attorney Mona Madsen said to NTB on Sunday evening: “We have questioned all three men, as well as the key witnesses. We believe there is no danger for destruction of evidence. This is why we chose to let them go.”
Madsen refused to comment on what the men said during their interviews with the police, but stated: “They have not admitted guilt.”
The incident happened some time before police were called at 2.45am on Sunday morning in response to an emergency call that a drunk and disruptive man had entered a Christmas work party in Melbu that he was not formally invited to. The police were called to remove the man from a private house hired by the firm Norway Seafoods for their Christmas party.
Police chief, Mona Madsen, said to NTB: “When police arrived to the scene half-an-hour later, they found the man unconscious. Medical staff arrived at the scene very soon after the police, and they tried to resuscitate the man, but without success. The man was declared dead.”
The three arrested men are charged for grievous bodily harm resulting in death and were jailed for questioning at a local police station in Sortland.
Madsen said: “Investigations are ongoing and three people have been charged in the case. We know there has been a fist fight between the dead person and the three charged persons. The victim shall undergo autopsy at the University hospital in Tromsø.”
Around 80 employees from Norway Seafoods attended the private party at the assembly house “Arbeideren” (The Worker) in Melbu.
Factory head of Norway Seafoods, Martin Rasmussen, confirms to NRK: "A situation arose where a person from outside [the party] died. The three who are charged in the case are employees from this company.”
Rasmussen said the situation is tragic and a tough strain on the employees. He added: "Our thoughts go to their next to kin and to our staff. It is our most important task to look after our staff following this situation."