Paralympian Oscar Pistorius ‘a broken man’, psychologist tells sentencing hearing

Oscar Pistorius is “a broken man” who should not be jailed, a psychologist told a court sentencing the South African Paralympic gold medalist for the 2013 murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. Called by Pistorius’ defense lawyers, clinical psychologist, Prof. Jonathan Scholtz, said Pistorius was “quite ill” and struggled with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Scholtz evaluated Pistorius in 2014, during his murder trial, and again in May this year. “Mr. Pistorius’ condition has worsened since 2014,” Scholtz testified. He said Pistorius was now “despondent and lethargic, disinvested, and leaves his future in the hands of God”.

One would describe him as broken. In my opinion his current condition warrants hospitalisation.

Professor Jonathan Scholtz

The clinical psychologist said he did not think Pistorius would be able to testify at the sentencing hearings because of his psychological problems. The 29-year-old, known as “Blade Runner” for the carbon-fibre prosthetic blades he used to race, appeared at the session, at times with his head in his hands. He faces a minimum 15-year sentence. Pistorius initially received a five-year sentence for culpable homicide, South Africa’s equivalent of manslaughter, for shooting Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day 2013 through a locked toilet door in his Pretoria home. He had argued he mistook her for an intruder. Barry and June Steenkamp, Reeva’s parents, were also present in court.

Since the offence, he has developed a serious psychiatric condition which has become worse over the past two years - major depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Professor Scholtz