Oscar awaits judge’s ruling on observation

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IOL pic may14 South Africa Pistorius Trial Associated Press Oscar Pistorius leaves the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on May 13, 2014. Picture: Themba Hadebe

Johannesburg - Oscar Pistorius will learn on Wednesday if he will be sent for mental observation after the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria heard he had general anxiety disorder.

Judge Thokozile Masipa said she would make an order at 9.30am.

Making the application on Tuesday, prosecutor Gerrie Nel said the timing of the evidence given by forensic psychiatrist Dr Merryll Vorster was significant. Vorster evaluated Pistorius on May 2 and 7.

“My lady, the consultation happened after the evidence of the accused. There must be a reason why that consultation would take place at that time,” Nel said.

Barry Roux, for Pistorius, opposed the application.

“Apart from the absence of merit it is a premature application,” he said.

“For the moment we must take emotions out of it.”

Nel said it was necessary to send Pistorius for evaluation in case the disorder might have affected his behaviour on February 14 last year, when she shot and killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

“The accused was not the most impressive witness. Isn't that then the reason why a psychiatrist was consulted?” Nel asked, addressing Masipa.

Pistorius is charged with murdering Steenkamp. He shot her through the locked door of his toilet in his Pretoria home on February 14 last year. Pistorius has denied guilt, saying he thought she was an intruder about to open the door and attack him. The State contends he shot her during an argument.

He is also charged with three contraventions of the Firearms Control Act - one of illegal possession of ammunition and two of discharging a firearm in public. He has pleaded not guilty to these charges as well. - Sapa

Click here for IOL’s live blog about the Oscar trial.

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