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Oscar Pistorius to undergo psychiatric tests

Oscar Pistorius
Oscar Pistorius Bang Showbiz

OSCAR Pistorius has been ordered to undergo psychiatric evaluation.

The paralympian's trial for the murder of girlfriend Reeva Steencamp - who he maintains he shot in the mistaken belief she was an intruder - has been adjourned while he is tested by experts after the judge presiding over the case ruled psychiatric evidence brought before the court in Pretoria could not replace a "proper inquiry" into his mental health.

Judge Thokozile Masipa has adjourned the case until next Tuesday (20.05.14), when she will give the details behind a ruling which could see the defendant evaluated for a minimum of 30 days at a psychiatric faculty.

The move comes after forensic psychiatrist Merryll Vorster said earlier this week that the athlete suffered a generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), prompting prosecutor Gerrie Nel to make an application for a psychiatric referral, which the defence team opposed.

However, the prosecutor insisted a referral was necessary because the condition might have affected Pistorius' behaviour on the night he killed his girlfriend.

The judge said the evaluation will ensure Pistorius will get a fair trial, but added it would be "preferable" for him to undergo the tests as an outpatient.

Legal experts say the prosecution - who have questioned why the psychiatrist was called to give evidence so late in the proceedings - are keen to show the defence keeps changing the reasons why their client fired his gun, going from putative self-defence, to accidental shooting, and now to something linked to his anxiety disorder.

If Pistorius is found to suffer from a mental illness, he cannot be held criminally responsible for murdering Reeva and would be found not guilty by reason of "mental illness or intellectual disability"
 

Topics:  editors picks oscar pistorius


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