Oscar’s psychiatrist hospitalised

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Paralympian Oscar Pistorius during his murder trial at the High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday. Picture: Daniel Born

Johannesburg - A psychiatrist who evaluated murder-accused Oscar Pistorius has been hospitalised, his defence counsel said on Friday.

“I believe he was hospitalised last night (Thursday), but I think he is already at home,” said attorney Brian Webber.

Webber said he was not sure if this would affect the trial.

The athlete is expected back in the High Court in Pretoria on Monday.

It was reported on Friday by eNCA and Eyewitness News that the psychiatrist had a heart attack on Thursday.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said the trial would resume as expected on Monday.

“It is safe to say that we are ready to proceed and we will proceed on Monday,” NPA spokesman Nathi Mncube said.

He said the NPA could not comment on the health of the psychiatrist.

Pistorius was evaluated by four specialists as a day-patient at Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital, in Pretoria.

On Friday morning, 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 said.

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 whether 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.

On Friday morning, Webber said the defence was 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 said.

Pistorius was ordered to report to Weskoppies 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.

On completion, the psychiatric report would be handed to the registrar of the court, the NPA, and the defence.

In May, forensic psychiatrist Prof 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.

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 also pleaded not guilty to these charges.

Sapa


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