News May 14, 2014 at 11:06 am

Judge Orders Pistorius To Psychiatric Hospital for Mental Evaluation

Edna Owusu-Ansah May 14, 2014 at 11:06 am

May 14, 2014 at 11:06 am | News

Oscar Pistorius Case

Judge Thokozile Masipa ruled that paralympian Oscar Pistorius must go to a psychiatric hospital for mental health tests in order to ascertain whether he is indeed guilty for the shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

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The ruling came after the State Prosecutor Gerrie Nel made an application to the court requesting that the athlete be taken for psychiatric evaluation once a defense witness testified that Pistorius suffered from an anxiety disorder that may have affected his judgment on the night he killed Steenkamp.

Forensic psychiatrist Dr. Merryll Vorster told the court on Tuesday that people who suffer from general anxiety often buy guns because they fear for their safety.

“People with general anxiety disorder are not dangerous as such. People with general anxiety disorder probably shouldn’t have firearms – that’s what makes them dangerous,” Dr. Vorster said during cross-examination by Nel.

“So many people in society have general anxiety disorder, but they are not threats as such. So the diagnosis as such is not one that one would associate with violence.”

In her testimony on Monday, Dr. Vorster said Pistorius had been affected by his upbringing, as he saw his father, Henke, as an irresponsible and absent father. In addition, since Pistorius’ mother, Sheila, abused alcohol and was paranoid, she reportedly slept with a gun under her pillow, causing Pistorius and his siblings, Carl and Aimee, to view the world as a scary place, Dr. Vorster argued.

Dr. Vorster said general anxiety disorder is common and does not affect a person’s capacity to distinguish between right and wrong, but the court should consider the fact that Pistorius’ capacity to think clearly might have been affected on the night he shot and killed Steenkamp because of his high-anxiety levels.

Watch the judge order Pistorius to get a mental health evaluation here:

 




Now that the judge has made the mental evaluation ruling, the case will likely be delayed for another month, as Pistorius will have to be admitted to a psychiatric hospital for evaluation for a period of 30 days.

Pistorius is facing a murder charge and other charges that relate to the contravention of the Firearms Act. He has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

 

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