The trial of paralympian Oscar Pistorius, who’s accused of his girlfriend’s murder, resumes on June 30 complete with the court ordered psychiatric evaluation.
Judge Thokozile Masipa will receive the evaluations of three psychiatrists and a psychologist who assessed whether Pistorius understood the wrongful act he did the moment he shot Reeva Steenkamp through a locked toilet door in his home on Feb. 14, 2013. The panel assessment from a state psychiatric hospital may affect Judge Masipa’s deliberation on the verdict and determine his sentence and whether or not Pistorius should be criminally liable.
The South African double-amputee Olympian is accused of killing his girlfriend but his murder trial was put on hold when a witness testified that Pistorius has a psychiatric condition which influences his perceptions of danger.
The court ordered for the examination of the 27-year-old athlete’s mental health to see if his Generalized Anxiety Disorder may have affected his behavior at the time of the shooting. The panel observed Pistorius as he undertook ordinary tests at Weskoppies for a month. They also interviewed him and his friends and family about his personal history and life as a first-rate athlete.
Pistorius denied killing his girlfriend intentionally and maintained that he accidentally shot her in a state of panic after he mistook her as an intruder. He said he mistook her for an intruder early in the morning when he felt vulnerable without wearing his prosthetic legs. The prosecutors said that the couple had a fight which resulted to an intentional murder.
“Mr. Pistorius did not suffer from a mental illness or defect that would have rendered him criminally not responsible for the offence charged,” state prosecutor Gerrie Nel said from the psychologist report.
The defense acknowledged that his anxiety wouldn’t have affected his understanding of right from wrong and the panel’s conclusions may not significantly affect the trial. It is scheduled to finish presenting all evidence in the following days and may call three additional witnesses. If the hospital evaluation turns out to side the defense team, the judge may mitigate his sentence even if he is found guilty.