There was drama in the Northern Gauteng High Court today in Pretoria on Wednesday when Judge Thokozile Masipa ruled that murder accused paralympian, Oscar Pistorius be sent to a state mental facility for compulsory psychiatric assessment.
This ruling was made by the judge presiding over the murder trial of Pistorious, who stands accused of the premeditated murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on the morning of Valentine’s day in 2013. It is the state’s case that Pistorius and his model girlfriend who was ironically studying to be a lawyer had a heated argument during the night. They contend that during the argument, the accused turned violent and possibly abusive, leading the deceased to seek refuge in the toilet in the apartment. They further argue that in his outrage, Oscar grabbed the firearm that he was in the habit of keeping under his pillow and fired four shots through the door at the cowering Steenkamp, three of which found their mark and caused the agonizing death of the former model.
The defence, led by the theatrical Barry Roux, argue that when he was coming from the balcony where he had gone to retrieve a fan, Oscar heard some noises in the toilet. Quickly assuming that it was an intruder, a conclusion that was facilitated by the fact that the toilet window was open, the athletics champion dubbed the Blade Runner grabbed his gun from under his pillow and challenged whoever was in the bathroom to come out. When this did not happen, Oscar fired four shots.
While building a case for his defence, Oscar’s defence team brought to the stand a forensic psychiatrist, Merryll Voster, who testified that the Olympian had suffered all his life from a condition she referred to as general anxiety disorder which, she argues, could have had a bearing on his reaction ability on the day that he fatally shot his girlfriend. In response to this evidence, the state attorney in the case, Gerrie’ the Bull Terrier’ Nel posited that if that was the case, then the accused needed to go for psychiatric evaluation.
Making the ruling on Wednesday, Judge Masipa stated that if the kind of disorder that Merryll Voster alluded to had an influence on the way he had reacted on that fateful night, it was only fair that this be investigated. Oscar was resultantly ordered to go for psychiatric evaluation at the Weskoppies Public Psychiatric Hospital, which is on the outskirts of Pretoria. He will be based here for thirty days and will be observed by three psychiatrists who will report back to the court. The good news for Oscar was that he will be admitted as an outpatient, meaning that he will be able to go back every night to his uncle’s house where he has lived since the fateful incident occurred on 14 February, 2013. The court consequently adjourned for thirty days to allow for this evaluation to occur.