Oscar Pistorius ordered to start psychiatric evaluation
Oscar Pistorius has been ordered to start daily tests on Monday to assess his mental state when he killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
Judge Thokozile Masipa at Oscar Pistorius’ trial told him to attend Weskoppies psychiatric hospital in Pretoria as an outpatient for a month.
It comes after a defense witness said the double amputee was suffering from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
Oscar Pistorius, 27, denies intentionally killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
He says he accidentally shot his girlfriend through the toilet door on Valentine’s Day last year in a state of panic, mistaking the 29-year-old model and law graduate for an intruder.
The prosecution had argued the tests were essential after forensic psychiatrist Merryll Vorster told the court in Pretoria the double amputee was “a danger to society”.
But the defense vigorously opposed the move.
Judge Thokozile Masipa said on Wednesday that four appointed psychiatrists would “inquire into whether the accused by reason of mental illness or mental defect was at the time of the commission of the offence criminally responsible for the offence as charged”.
She said the team would decide whether he was “capable of appreciating the wrongfulness of his act”.
Court proceedings were adjourned until June 30.
Legal experts say that the case may well hinge on the judge’s understanding of the athlete’s state of mind when he pulled the trigger.
They say the prosecution is keen to show that the defense keeps changing its reasons why Oscar Pistorius fired his gun – from putative self-defense, to accidental shooting, and now to something linked to his anxiety disorder.
Last week Judge Thokozile Masipa said that the criminal code stipulates that if an accused person is alleged not to be criminally responsible or is alleged to be mentally ill, he should be evaluated.
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