14 May 2014

South Africa: Judge Masipa Rules That Pistorius Must Receive Psychiatric Evaluation

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

A judge has ruled that Oscar Pistorius must undergo psychiatric evaluation. The prosecution had brought forward an application to have the former Olympic sprinter sent to a hospital to test the extent of his disorder.

In a surprise turn on Wednesday, Judge Thokozile Masipa ruled that Oscar Pistorius be sent for psychiatric evaluation, with an official order to be handed down next week. The evaluation would last a month.

An expert witness had testified on Tuesday that Pistorius, on trial for killing his girlfriend on Valentine's Day 2013, suffered from "general anxiety disorder."

"I'm persuaded that the requirement of a reasonable possibility has been met," Masipa said on Wednesday. "This is not about anyone's convenience but whether justice has been served," she added.

On Tuesday, state prosecutor Gerrie Nel had brought forward an application to have Pistorius sent to a hospital to test the extent of his anxiety disorder. Masipa said on Wednesday that ensuring Pistorius was fit to stand trial was essential.

Pistorius admits to having killed Reeva Steenkamp, but says he thought she was an intruder when he shot her through a closed bathroom door. Over the course of the trial, Pistorius has become visibly shaken on more than once occasion and even physically sick.

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