In pictures: Oscar's first day back in court

By Kirstin Buick
13 June 2016

The Pistorius and Steenkamp family returned to the High Court in Pretoria for Oscar Pistorius' sentencing today, where psychologist Prof Jonathan Scholtz testified about the former athlete's psychological state.

Oscar is being sentenced for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on February 14, 2013, after the Supreme Court of Appeal overturned his conviction of culpable homicide.

The SCA referred the matter back to judge Thokozile Masipa to determine an appropriate sentence.

As he was questioned by Oscar's lawyer Barry Roux, Prof Scholtz said Oscar had descended into a state of hopelessness, lethargy, and a “sense of impending emotional breakdown”.

Reading a report he had compiled on Oscar earlier this year, Prof Scholtz described the "traumatic and humiliating" experiences Oscar had while incarcerated, inclduing "overhearing the rape of a young man and finding the man had hung himself with the bed cloth the next morning".

Scholtz told the court during arguments in mitigation of sentencing that warders at the prison would arrive with other people to look at him, mainly at night.

“If he was a patient of mine in private practice, I would admit him to hospital,” Scholtz said.

But the State's Gerrie Nel countered Scholtz's testimony with reports that Oscar was aggressive and verbally abusive towards prison officials in his first month in jail.

“Centre management reports that Mr Pistorius struggled to adapt and was aggressive and violent towards officials in the first month,” prosecutor Gerrie Nel told psychologist Prof Jonathan Scholtz during cross-examination.

Nel was speaking during sentencing proceedings for Pistorius. He referred to a statement in a report by Kgosi Mampuru's counselling psychologist. She wrote that Pistorius's verbal aggression was a further indication of his explosive temperament.

“Mr Pistorius fails to identify himself as having committed a crime,” the report stated, according to Nel. The case will resume at the High Court at 9am tomorrow.

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