I didn't want to testify, Oscar's psychologist says

2014-10-13 10:23
(Picture: AFP)

(Picture: AFP)

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Culpable homicide carries no minimum sentence - expert

2014-10-13 09:09

Sentencing for Oscar Pistorius, who has been found guilty of culpable homicide for the killing of Reeva Steenkamp, is underway in the North Gauteng High Court today. Criminal law expert William Booth explains there is no minimum sentence for culpable homicide - it is up to Judge Masipa's to discretion. WATCH

Pretoria - Oscar Pistorius's psychologist Lore Hartzenburg did not want to testify in his murder trial, the High Court in Pretoria heard on Monday.

"My attitude on the outset was that I was Mr Pistorius's therapist and I was not going to get involved in the merits of the case," she said as Barry Roux, for Pistorius led her evidence.

She said she was recently approached by the defence to write a report, and after discussing it with Pistorius, she agreed.

Hartzenburg said she first met Pistorius on 23 February 2013 after the shooting of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in his Pretoria home.

She said her sessions with Pistorius were daily, monthly and weekly, while some sessions were short and only lasted two hours.

Weeping and crying

"Initially it was very difficult... to have sessions with Mr Pistorius. He was very emotional. We couldn't conduct some of the sessions - it was just him weeping and crying," she said.

"And then [in] other sessions we could make progress."

Hartzenburg said the sessions started as grief counselling, and went into trauma counselling.

She obtained her first degree in 1973 and did her PhD in cross-cultural trauma counselling in the context of domestic violence, in 2001.

"I'm considered an expert in sexual abuse... I also do general trauma counselling as well," she said.

The paralympic athlete was convicted of culpable homicide on September 12 for the Valentine's Day 2013, shooting of Steenkamp.

Not guilty of murder

Judge Thokozile Masipa found the paralympian not guilty of murder, but convicted him of culpable homicide.

Pistorius shot Steenkamp through the locked door of the toilet, apparently thinking she was an intruder about to emerge and attack him.

She was hit in the hip, arm, and head.

Masipa said that there was no basis for the court to make the inference that Pistorius wanted to kill Steenkamp.

She said evidence showed that Pistorius acted negligently when he fired into the toilet door knowing there was someone behind it.

With regard to firearms-related charges, Masipa found Pistorius guilty of firing a Glock pistol belonging to his friend Darren Fresco under a table at Tasha's restaurant in Johannesburg in January 2013.

However, she found him not guilty of shooting through the open sunroof of a car with his 9mm pistol while driving with Fresco and ex-girlfriend Samantha Taylor in Modderfontein on 30 September 2012.

Read more on:    samantha taylor  |  reeva steenkamp  |  oscar pistorius  |  barry roux  |  thokozile masipa  |  pretoria

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