Murder accused paralympian, Oscar Pistorius, and his defence team have not been granted permission to speak to state psychiatrist, Carla Kotze, the court heard on Monday.
Pistorius’s defence team wished to discuss the athlete’s mental health with the state’s psychiatrist, as they have already spoken to the psychiatrist which they appointed, Dr Leon Fine. “We want to sit down and get some understanding. We have done the same with Dr Fine and wish to do the same with her,” Defence advocate, Barry Roux said.
Prosecutor Gerrie Nel, however, disagreed and objected to Roux’s request. “They appointed Dr Fine. Why is there a need to consult with a different psychiatrist if you already have your own?” Nel queried.
Nel further explained that he intends on calling Kotze to testify if the defence calls forward Dr Fine. Based on this, the defence may not meet to discuss with Kotze. Roux stated that he has no intention of calling upon Dr Fine and that he is not certain as to whether they will even make use of another witness.
Judge Thokozile Masipa, however ruled in favour of Nel’s request and denied the defence any communication with state psychiatrist, Carla Kotze. “No basis has been laid for the request to consult Dr Kotze. The defence is not permitted to consult Dr Kotze,” Masipa declared today in the North Gauteng High Court, in Pretoria.
Masipa proceeded to further explain that although Dr Kotze was in court, she is not a normal witness. Therefore the defence does not have a right to speak to her.
Oscar Pistorius is on trial for the alleged murder of his girlfriend at the time, Reeva Steenkamp. He shot and killed her in the early hours of the morning on Valentines Day, February 14th, 2013. Steenkamp was apparently on the other side of the bathroom door when Pistorius fired multiple shots into it, killing her. Pistorius testified that he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder and fired through the door due to the fear of imminent attack.
Over the 30 days preceding the resumption of the trial, Pistorius underwent psychiatric evaluation to determine whether or not he suffers from a general anxiety disorder. The testing took place at Weskoppies Psychiatric Institution, where Pistorius was evaluated by a team of four qualified mental health specialists. The result was that Pistorius does not suffer from general anxiety disorder, but that he is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and is at risk of suicide.