Pistorius trial restarts after psychiatric report reveals he is not mentally ill

Oscar Pistorius is not mentally ill and is fit to stand trial, a psychiatric report has found. However, the court in Pretoria heard the results of the mental assessment may play a part in any future sentencing. Pistorius’ murder trial had been adjourned for a month while an expert panel assessed whether an anxiety disorder could have played a part in his actions when he shot dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. The judge ordered the evaluation after a psychiatrist giving evidence in the athlete’s defence told the court he suffered from generalised anxiety disorder, and that this may have influenced his judgement.

Mr Pistorus did not suffer from a mental illness or defect that would have rendered him criminally not responsible for the offence charged.

State prosecutor Gerrie Nel, reading from the psychologists report

The tests were requested by the chief prosecutor and opposed by Pistorius’ lawyer. Pistorius denies murder, claiming he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder. He faces a life sentence if found guilty. With the resumption of the trial, the defence team called Dr Gerald Verseld, the orthopaedic surgeon who amputated both of Oscar Pistorius’ legs. The doctor told the court that Pistorius might struggle on his stumps during a tense situation, and that he would have difficulty smashing the door of the toilet, where Steenkamp was, with a cricket bat. However, this has been challenged by Nel in cross-examination.