AS IT HAPPENED: Day 32, Pistorius on trial

2014-05-14 08:59

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Oscar's trial - day 32 summary

2014-05-14 11:48

Oscar Pistorius is set to undergo psychiatric evaluation as directed by Judge Masipa. He will most likely receive outpatient treatment. Here's everything you need to know.WATCH

Murder-accused Oscar Pistorius will learn on Wednesday if he will be sent for mental observation after the North Gauteng High Court heard he had general anxiety disorder.

11:55 - And w're done again. Probably.

11:37 - Arnold told reporters of Judge Masipa's “commitment to using every avenue to ensure a fair trial.”

11:36 - Pistorius's uncle Arnold welcomes judge's "thorough" ruling and says it gives family "confidence" in justice system.

11:34 - Defence witness and Forensic Psychiatrist Dr Merryll Vorster testified that Oscar Pistorius suffers from an anxiety disorder, has inadequacies about his disability and has become depressed since the shooting.

Watch this to find out more about this expert witness who prompted the state to call for Pistorius to be referred for mental observation.

11:19 - And we're re-opening updates now (for a bit) as Arnold Pistorius will be making a statement to the media at 11:30, according to eNCA reporter Phakamile Hlubi.

10:54 - So we'll end updates now. We'll be back on Tuesday when the court decides how it will work out Pistorius's evaluation. Watch a full summary of day 32's court proceedings here: 

10:49 - Rebecca Davis tweets: "I was also thinking this. Masipa's words on Pistorius: RT  @KbzFire"punish him twice" suggesting he'll be punished at least once?"

10:32 - What will happen when Pistorius goes for observation?

Generally what is done is that the person is taken compulsorily to a mental hospital or similar facility, where they will be placed “under observation”, writes Health24.

A psychiatrist will assess them fairly frequently, a psychological and other medical tests and investigations may be done and the observations of nurses and others will be taken into account.

Read more here.

10:23 - Judge Masipa has ruled that Oscar Pistorius should undergo a psychiatric evaluation. Criminal law expert William Booth weighs in what this now means for Oscar Pistorius and his on-going murder trial. Watch.

10:21 - 

10:20 -  Masipa: Aim of referral is not to punish the accused twice. So if a possibility of [Pistorius] being an outpatient, that would be preferable.

10:19 - Court adjourns.

10:18 - Roux says defence will make recommendations that OP be an outpatient.

10:17 - BREAKING: Oscar Pistorius will be sent for psychiatric observation. But she will do so formally next Tuesday.

10:17 - Masipa: It is so that referral inevitably means more delays in finalising this matter.

10:15 - Masipa: I’m persuaded that there is a reasonable possibility that the accused was affected by a mental illness.

10:15 - Masipa: the defence said they had another witness to call. But has the state made a case for the application?

10:14 - Judge: "In my view the question is whether the application has made a case for the relief that's sought."

10:13 - Masipa: A proper inquiry will ensure Oscar Pistorius receives a fair trial.

10:13 - Vorster only had two interviews with OP, says Masipa. She had very little time to compile her report.

10:12 - The effect of Vorster's evidence is that OP may have another defence, related to diminished capacity, says Masipa. Masipa: It would be unwise for court to make a diagnosis without help of experts.

10:11 - Masipa: Nowhere in the act is there a definition of a mental illness or mental defect.

10:11 - Masipa: Vorster said while the accused appreciates right from wrong, his ability to act in accordance with this is affected.

10:10 - Masipa: Althought Vorster stated that she didn't think GAD was a mental illness she stated that OP had a psychiatric illness.

10:09 - OP's reaction to the perceived threat on night of 14 Feb last year should be seen in the light of his physical disability and his GAD, Masipa quotes Vorster as saying.

10:08 - Masipa: Vorster also found that OP more likely to respond to danger with fight, rather than flight response.

10:07 - Masipa: Vorster said OP physical vulnerability went hand in hand with his anxiety disorder, they fed off each other.

10:07 - Masipa: Vorster stated on numerous occasions that the accused had a long history of of the disorder.

10:07 - Masipa refers to Vorster's evidence of OP's hyper vigilance.

10:06 - Masipa: The accused might not have raised the issue of mental illness, but evidence raised on his behalf cannot be ignored.

10:05 - Masipa disagrees with Roux that there was no relevant allegation of mental defect. 

10:04 - Masipa: Accused may not have raised issue that he was not criminally responsible...but allegations have been substantiated by Dr Vorster.

10:03 - Masipa agrees with Nel's argument on peremptory language of subsection. So does this mean he's going for observation?

10:02 - The trigger to the application was Vorster's evidence, says Masipa.

Masipa: If it is alleged that accused is by reason of mental defect not responsible...counsel for state was correct court has no discretion.

OP stands as Masipa reads out her statement.

10:01 - Judge: "It's clear from the wording that the key words are 'if it's alleged that' due to mental defect accused might not be responsible"

10:00 - Masipa reads provision of the CPA dealing with mental illness and criminal responsibility.

9:59 - "Strangely, the application is opposed by the accused," says judge.

9:59 - Masipa starts reading her statement. Details the state's application.

9:58 - Court resumes. Judge takes her seat. 

9:58 - Judge Masipa has arrived in court.

9:57 - Gallery told be be quiet. Judge due soon.

9:57 - Sounds as if they'll be starting soon...Nel is back in court.

9:55 - So Barry Bateman reckons: "All counsel has been here since early. Masipa would not allow any delay unless it was for good reason."

9:51 - "Pistorius is impassive in the dock, glasses on and head down, giving no indication of what he's been told," tweets the UK Telegraph's Aislinn Laing.

9:48 - "Roux back talking to Pistorius, Arnold joins the talk. Nel not back in court yet. Pistorius pats Roux's hand before taking seat," says Oscar Trial Channel.

9:46 - "Roux and Pistorius confer earnestly again. I wish I could lip read," says the BBC's Andrew Harding.

9:43 - "Arnold suits down and releases a long sigh. He doesn’t confer with other relatives beside him. We wait for the judge." - Barry Bateman.

That courtroom sounds as if it's super tense right now...

9:40 - Roux looks grim, Pistorius resigned, tweets Nastasya Tay. Arnold Pistorius walks to defence team to talk to Roux, tweets Oscar Trial Channel.

9:40 - Counsel is back. Roux chats to Pistorius (OP) in the dock. Silence descends.

9:35 - Still no judge or counsel in court yet, say reporters there.

9:29 - "Counsel have been called to chambers," tweets EWN reporter Barry Bateman. So there might be a bit of a delay in proceedings.

9:28 - 

9:28 - Watch a full summary of day 31's court proceedings here:

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9:26 - "If Oscar Pistorius is referred for mental observation, his lawyers (will) very likely to ask that he be an outpatient," tweets eNCA's court reporter Karyn Maughan.

9:14 - Roux says he has more witnesses so if Judge Masipa finds that he shouldn't be sent for mental evaluation they will be called.

9:08 - Judge Thokozile Masipa said she would make an order at 09:30.

Making the application on Tuesday prosecutor Gerrie Nel said the timing of the evidence given by forensic psychiatrist Dr Merryll Vorster was significant. Vorster evaluated Pistorius on 2 and 7 May.

"My lady, the consultation happened after the evidence of the accused. There must be a reason why that consultation would take place at that time," Nel said.

Barry Roux SC, for Pistorius, opposed the application.

"Apart from the absence of merit it is a premature application," he said.

"For the moment we must take emotions out of it."

Nel said it was necessary to send Pistorius for evaluation in case the disorder might have affected his behaviour on 14 February last year, when she shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
Read more on:    gerrie nel  |  reeva steenkamp  |  oscar pistorius  |  barry roux  |  thokozile masipa  |  crime  |  pistorius trial

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