Oscar Pistorius 'had no mental disorder', trial hears
- 30 June 2014
- From the section Africa
Oscar Pistorius did not have a mental disorder when he killed his girlfriend, a psychological report said as his murder trial resumed.
That meant the Olympic athlete was criminally responsible for his actions when he shot her, the prosecution said.
The defence team has said Mr Pistorius was suffering from an anxiety disorder.
The athlete denies deliberately killing Reeva Steenkamp. He says he shot her accidentally in a state of panic after mistaking her for an intruder.
The prosecution says Mr Pistorius deliberately killed Ms Steenkamp following an argument.
Both prosecution and defence have accepted the results of the psychological report but it has not been published.
"Mr Pistorius did not suffer from a mental illness or defect that would have rendered him criminally not responsible for the offence charged," said state prosecutor Gerrie Nel, reading from the psychologist report.
Judge Thokozile Masipa said she had only received it on Monday morning and so had not yet read it, reports the AFP news agency.
Analysis: Andrew Harding, BBC News, Pretoria
On balance this was a good day for the defence.
The panel of experts may have concluded that Oscar Pistorius is neither mentally ill, nor unable to tell right from wrong, but his own psychiatrist actually said much the same, although she did conclude that he had an anxiety disorder.
Besides, we still don't know the details of the new report - only the short highlights helpfully selected and read out by the prosecution.
Then the athlete's doctor, Gerry Versfeld, provided some compelling evidence about the athlete's disability - and the pain and lack of balance he experienced on his stumps.
After that, the court heard a highly technical summary from acoustic expert Ivan Lin.
His main role was to raise doubts about the testimony of several neighbours, called by the state, that they had heard a woman screaming so clearly that they could even tell her emotional state.
Mr Lin suggested that it would have been very difficult, if not impossible, for any of those witnesses - given their distance from Mr Pistorius' home - to have heard with such clarity. The prosecution will cross-examine Mr Lin on Tuesday.
Before the case was adjourned until Tuesday, the defence called acoustic expert Ivan Lin to give evidence in the hope of discrediting prosecution witnesses who said they heard the scream of a woman on the night Ms Steenkamp was killed.
Earlier, the court heard from Dr Gerry Versfeld, who amputated Mr Pistorius' legs when he was just 11 months old. He was born without the fibulas in both of his legs but went on to become an Olympic athlete.
Dr Versfeld testified about the impact of the disability on Mr Pistorius, 27, and to what extent he could walk without his prosthetic legs.
He was on his stumps when he shot Ms Steenkamp and has argued that made him feel vulnerable when he heard a noise in the middle of the night.
During Dr Versfeld's testimony, Judge Masipa was asked to inspect Mr Pistorius' stumps but the public were prevented from seeing.
The defence is expected to finish presenting its evidence in the next few days.
The prosecution requested the evaluation after a defence witness said the double amputee was suffering from Generalised Anxiety Disorder (Gad).
Mr Pistorius, 27, underwent a month of tests as an outpatient at Weskoppies psychiatric hospital in Pretoria.
He has often displayed his emotions during the trial, and has sobbed and vomited in court.
Ms Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model and law graduate, was shot through a toilet door at Mr Pistorius' house in Pretoria on Valentine's Day last year.
The couple had been dating for three months.
There are no juries at trials in South Africa, so the athlete's fate will ultimately be decided by the judge, assisted by two assessors.
If found guilty of murder, Mr Pistorius, who went on trial on 3 March, could face life imprisonment. If he is acquitted of that charge, the court will consider an alternative charge of culpable homicide, for which he could receive about 15 years in prison.
Generalised Anxiety Disorder
- Generalised Anxiety Disorder is a medically-recognised, long-term condition
- People with Gad feel anxious on most days and worry about a wide range of issues
- It is thought to affect around one in 25 people at some point in their lives and is more common in women than in men
- Symptoms vary - making it tricky to diagnose
- People with Gad may have difficulty concentrating, feel tired and irritable, feel sick, dizzy or sweaty and experience aches and pains
- Gad tends to run in families, can follow stressful events, and may be linked to chemical imbalances in the brain
- The main treatments include using talking therapies, relaxation techniques and medication