Oscar Pistorius must go for mental observation

2014-05-14 11:07

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Murder-accused Oscar Pistorius will be sent for mental observation, the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria ordered today.

“I am satisfied that a case has been laid out ... and I shall grant that order,” Judge Thokozile Masipa said, granting the state’s application.

“A proper inquiry ... would ensure that the accused gets a fair trial.”

Pistorius stood emotionless as Masipa spoke.

Masipa said she was aware this would cause more delays, but said it was not about convenience but about justice being served.

She said the idea was not to punish Pistorius and the possibility of him being an out-patient should be investigated.

On Monday, forensic psychiatrist Merryll Vorster told the court Pistorius had general anxiety disorder. Based on this, the state applied to have him referred.

Pistorius is charged with murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. He shot her 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.

Before court started today, Pistorius sat in the dock with his head down. Barry Roux SC, for Pistorius, spoke to the athlete, then to his uncle Arnold Pistorius before he took his seat and Masipa and her two assessors entered.

Steenkamp’s mother June, her cousin, and the Myers family were in court today.

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.

Masipa said the specific order would be handed down next Tuesday.

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