May 20 2014 ISN – Oscar Pistorius will undergo up to a month of mental health tests to assess whether he was “capable of appreciating the wrongfulness of his act” when he shot his girlfriend dead.
Judge Thokozile Masipa today formally made the order to send the Paralympic athlete to Weskoppies psychiatric hospital in Pretoria every weekday from Monday (May 26).
He will attend the hospital as an outpatient, with four appointed psychiatrists assessing his mental state at the time he killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on February 14 last year.
Pistorius denies deliberately killing the 29-year-old model and law graduate, insisting he thought there was an intruder in his Pretoria home when he shot four times through a locked toilet door.
Judge Masipa’s order to send Pistorius for a mental health evaluation came after psychiatrist Merryll Vorster said he has generalised anxiety disorder.
She had told the Pretoria court last week the 27-year-old is a “distrusting and guarded” person who is “hyper-vigilant” about security.
His defence team fought against him having a psychiatric evaluation, but prosecutor Gerrie Nel’s request was accepted last week.
Pistorius has been ordered to attend the hospital every weekday until 4pm, or when “formally excused”.
His period of evaluation will depend on how long the four mental health experts need to compile a report for the court, the judge said.
She added they would “inquire into whether the accused by reason of mental illness or mental defect was at the time of the commission of the offence criminally responsible for the offence as charged”.
The murder trial began on March 3, with a lengthy adjournment during Easter.