Oscar mental observation done, says NPA

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IOL pic may13 oscar pistorius in the dock Independent Newspapers Oscar Pistorius weeps in the dock during his trial at the High Court in Pretoria. File picture: Chris Collingridge

 

Johannesburg - Murder-accused Oscar Pistorius will be back in the High Court in Pretoria on Monday, after completing his mental observation at Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital.

The athlete was evaluated by four specialists as a day-patient.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesman Nathi Mncube said Pistorius had completed his evaluation.

“It has been 30 days so his evaluation is completed. We must receive the reports from the specialists and then the court will determine the way forward,” he told Sapa.

Mncube said the NPA hoped the reports would be ready by Monday.

“You have three or four people writing different reports. The court could receive one report or more. Hopefully we will have them on Monday but I can't say for certain.”

On May 20, the court ruled that Pistorius's evaluation would inquire if he was “at the time of the commission of the offence criminally responsible” and if he could appreciate the “wrongfulness of his actions and act according to that appreciation”.

Judge Thokozile Masipa said three psychiatrists and one clinical psychologist would evaluate Pistorius to determine whether his general anxiety disorder and his disability had an effect on him when he shot his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp dead on Valentine's Day last year.

His attorney Brian Webber said on Friday they were ready to go back to court on Monday.

“I anticipate that we are going to complete our evidence (when the trial resumes) so it will probably last for a couple of weeks,” Webber told Sapa.

Pistorius was ordered to go to Weskoppies, in Pretoria, at 9am on May 26 and every weekday after that. He would stay until 4pm, or until he had been excused. The evaluation would not exceed 30 days.

The psychiatric report would be handed to the registrar of the court, the NPA and the defence once completed.

The three psychiatrists appointed were Dr L Fine for the defence, Prof HW Pretorius for the court, and one from Weskoppies, who has not been named.

The clinical psychologist is a J Scholtz.

In May, forensic psychiatrist Merryll Vorster, testifying for the defence, told the court Pistorius had general anxiety disorder and based on this, the State successfully applied to have him referred for observation.

General anxiety disorder is a common anxiety disorder that involves chronic worrying, nervousness, and tension.

Based on the outcome of the assessment, Pistorius could be detained in a psychiatric hospital or prison in terms of the Mental Health Act.

He could also be treated as an outpatient, released subject to conditions from the court, or released unconditionally.

Pistorius is charged with the murder of Steenkamp. He shot her dead through the locked door of his toilet in his Pretoria home. He has denied murder, 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



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