Testing time ahead for Oscar

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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 - It will be a full-time job, 9am to 5pm, with breaks over weekends. A multi-disciplinary team assessing you from all angles.

And if you are an in-patient – Oscar Pistorius is expected to be an outpatient – at a psychiatric hospital, there’s no T-bone steak and slumping in front of the telly in the evenings watching your choice of channels.

The night staff and security guards will be your company.

The court has ruled that Pistorius must face psychiatric observation in the next few weeks.

The crux of what the staff at the hospital will be trying to assess is his mental state at the time of the crime, if he was able to distinguish right from wrong, and whether he is able to understand the court process he faces.

Asked about the nature of psychiatric observation in South Africa, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, professor of criminology at the University of Pretoria, said there would be a multi-disciplinary team comprising a head psychiatrist, a part-time psychiatrist, a medical doctor and sometimes a social worker.

The defence has the option of bringing its own psychologist to take part in all aspects of the examination.

All parties must agree on the final report. However, the court will not be obliged to follow the recommendations of the report.

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