Oscar remorseful for shooting Reeva - psychiatrist

2014-05-12 17:17
(Picture: AFP)

(Picture: AFP)

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Pretoria – A forensic psychiatrist testifying in Oscar Pistorius’s murder trial, told the North Gauteng High Court that the athlete felt remorse for shooting Reeva Steenkamp, but has never said he killed her.

Forensic psychiatrist Merryll Vorster on Monday said Pistorius had a general anxiety disorder.

The State said Pistorius should be referred for mental observation.

"It's a disorder, My Lady, it has been diagnosed as a mental illness," prosecutor Gerrie Nel said.

"The State is bringing that application... that this court will refer Mr Pistorius for mental observation."

Vorster said because of his disability the way the athlete reacted in situations would be different to normal people.

Nel asked: "If a person is suffering from a general anxiety disorder, can he be a danger to society?"

Vorster responded: "Yes."

Nel asked: "Would this make him a dangerous person?"

"Yes," Vorster replied.

Advocate Barry Roux for Pistorius, objected to Nel's application.

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

Vorster saw Pistorius for the first time on 2 May and then again on 7 May.

Nel asked Vorster: "During cross-examination, there were stages he would answer by saying 'I don't know where you are going, I am fighting for my life'. In your interview, did he say that?"

Vorster responded: "No, he did not say that to me."

Psychiatric factors

The court heard that the defence had called Vorster to bring psychiatric factors to the court's attention that might be of relevance during later proceedings.

She said Pistorius felt remorse.

"He feels remorse of having caused the death of Miss Steenkamp."

However, when Nel asked whether the athlete ever said he killed Steenkamp, Vorster said she could not recall him saying that.

"From a psychiatric perspective, he is certainly aware that he fired the shots that caused Steenkamp's death," she said.

Nel also questioned Vorster whether Pistorius's reactions after the shooting were in line with someone who had planned to kill.

She said his reaction following the death was appropriate.

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.

The matter resumes at 09:30 on Tuesday.

- SAPA
Read more on:    gerrie nel  |  reeva steenkamp  |  oscar pistorius  |  barry roux  |  pistorius trial
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