Daily Maverick (Johannesburg)

14 May 2014

South Africa: Pistorius Trial - Week 8, Day 3

Photo: Alon Skuy
Paralympian Oscar Pistorius with family and friends at the high court in Pretoria.

analysis

This could be one of the most significant days in the Oscar Pistorius murder trial thus far. Today Pistorius will find out whether Judge Thokozile Masipa will grant the state's application to have him referred for observation at a psychiatric hospital for up to a month: a prospect which the athlete would likely not be relishing, and one which would significantly delay the resolution of the trial.

09.00 It's likely been a tense 18 hours or so for Judge Masipa and her two assessors. After court adjourned yesterday at lunch, they were faced with the task of determining whether the law does indeed provide for Pistorius to receive independent mental evaluation at an institution, as the state contends.

The defence has vehemently and seemingly genuinely opposed the application. Apart from the strain it might cause Pistorius, another motivation behind their opposition is possibly psychiatrist Merryl Vorster's testimony that it would be highly unlikely for the outcome of the evaluation to find that Pistorius cannot be held criminally responsible for his actions. As such, there's little in it for them.

The state acknowledged yesterday that if granted, the move will cause a lengthy delay to justice in this...

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