On the night which Paralympian Oscar Pistorius shot dead his model girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, at their home in Pretoria, he did not suffer any mental aberrations or defects, the High Court in Pretoria heard today.
He allegedly does not lack the ability to determine right from wrong and apparently does not suffer the type of mental instability which would incur reduced liability for the acts which he committed.
Over the previous 30 days, Pistorius has been admitted as a day patient to the Weskoppies psychiatric hospital to be evaluated by a team of four qualified professionals, which consists of three psychiatrists and a criminal psychologist. Their findings were unanimous.
Prosecutor Gerrie Nel had requested that Pistorius undergo observation to either prove or refute the claims made by the defence. Defence advocate, Barry Roux, however, did forewarn that he and his legal team would further scrutinize the two psychiatric reports in detail and may or may not argue some points at a later stage. Currently, both prosecution and defence accepted the preliminary findings in the report.
On the 20th of May this year, the court ruled that the evaluation into the mental status of Pistorius would resolve whether he was, “at the time of the commission of the offence criminally responsible,” and if the defendant could understand the, “wrongfulness of his actions according to that appreciation”. The judge, Thokozile Masipe, then ruled that Pistorius would be evaluated in such a manner and that the findings would determine, firstly, whether the athlete has general anxiety disorder, and secondly, whether the disability had an effect on the man when he shot dead Reeva Steenkamp of the 14th of February last year.
The accused was subjected to extensive interviews, cognitive tests, personality analysis, and observation to determine definitively the state of Pistorius’s mental health and stability at the time.
The full reports were not initially made public, but upon cross-examination, prosecutor Gerrie Nel explained that Pistorius was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, but no general anxiety disorder. Nel instigated the mental testing after the defence stated claims of a possible general anxiety disorder, but the defence did not seem to be intent on seeking a report on the athlete’s mental state. However prosecutor Nel pursued this route and the outcome revealed no disorder of this manner.
The trial continues and the defence is expected to call several more witnesses to testify.