Pistorius ordered to undergo mental evaluation

PRETORIA - The judge in the trial of South African athlete Oscar Pistorius has ordered that he should undergo a mental evaluation.

She ruled that psychiatric evidence before the court could not replace "a proper inquiry" into his mental health.

Correspondents say the trial, which began in March, will almost certainly now face a lengthy delay.

The prosecution argued on Tuesday that psychiatric tests were essential and that he should be referred.

But the defence vigorously opposed the move.

Mr Pistorius denies intentionally killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day last year.

He says he accidentally shot her through the toilet door in a state of panic, mistaking the 29-year-old model and law graduate for an intruder.

The BBC's Pumza Fihlani says that the judge will give the details behind her ruling on Tuesday.

Our correspondent says that Mr Pistorius could be evaluated for a minimum of 30 days at a psychiatric faculty as a result of the evaluation order.

Mr Pistorius's uncle, Arnold, welcomed Judge Thokozile Masipa's "thorough" ruling and says it gives family "confidence" in the justice system.

He said that he was fully confident of the judge's commitment to a fair trial.

In her ruling Judge Masipa said that the South African 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.

She said that such an evaluation would ensure that Mr Pistorius would get a fair trial, adding it would be "preferable" for him to undergo the evaluation as an outpatient.

Prosecution lawyer Gerrie Nel made the referral application on Tuesday after forensic psychiatrist Merryll Vorster said earlier that the double amputee was suffering from generalised anxiety disorder (Gad).

Comments (4)

The defense team of Barry Roux thought that they were clever by claiming that Pistorius had some insecurities emanating from his history therefore had to act in the manner he did by killing his girlfriend Reeva. The prosecutor, Gerry Nel, then used that to have Pistorius examinied by a competent psychiatric doctor. This has, in turn, humiliated Team Pistorius who are now bearing the consequences of Oscar bearing the "psycho" label for quite some time. If Oscar is given a clean bill of health it therefore his previous defence will not hold. He loses out either way. To be free he needs to be labeled a psychiatric case!

Justice Chinembiri - 14 May 2014

but those guys xolile mngeni and Mziwamadoda who killed Anni Dewani in Cape town were simply tried and jailed to life (Mngeni and 25 years for Mzi. Mngeni was operated on his head several times for brain tumors but still got life behind bars. Is their a justice system for black criminals and one for white criminals? i dont get it, why should Pistorious be an out patient hlangennyi,,, he must board with his fellow mipengo kuhlangenyi yeku Pretoria kana kusina then he will have space at Pari. Mplilo kana Ngomahuru

mugabe - 15 May 2014

Its amazing how Roman and Dutch Law works or is it the practice? Kamunhu aka kakauraya mwana wevanhu ngakauriwevo. Munoti hama dza Reeva dzinofungei?

Don Wezhira - 15 May 2014

He is guilty as the rest of them

protestor - 16 May 2014

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.