13 May 2014

South Africa: State Brings Observation Application

Photo: Marco Longari/Sapa
South African Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius cries in court (file photo).

Pretoria — The State on Tuesday brought an application before the High Court in Pretoria to have murder-accused Oscar Pistorius admitted for mental observation. "We are mindful that if granted that it could lead to a delay," prosecutor Gerrie Nel said.

Nel said forensic psychiatrist Merryll Vorster said Pistorius suffered from general anxiety disorder, which was listed as a mental illness.

He said the disorder was serious. "The fact that it is psychiatric analysis, it may play a role," he said."[During the trial] there has been no indication of any abnormal anxiety.

"Pistorius is charged with murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. He shot her dead through the locked door of his toilet in his Pretoria home on February 14 last year.

Pistorius has denied guilt, saying he thought she was an intruder about to open the door and attack him. The State contends he shot her during an argument.Pistorius is also charged with three contraventions of the Firearms Control Act -- one of illegal possession of ammunition and two of discharging a firearm in public. He has pleaded not guilty to these charges as well.

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