Oscar Pistorius to Get Psych Evaluation

Oscar Pistorius' Blades

The judge in the Oscar Pistorius murder trial has ruled that Mr. Pistorius must undergo a 30-day psychiatric evaluation that will begin Monday, May 26

His trial will reconvene Monday, June 30, at which time the court will hear the outcome of the psychiatric evaluation.

Testimony of psychiatrist triggered the exam

We discussed the “histrionics” Mr. Pistorius has displayed throughout his trial at length in this space, but it was not Mr. Pistorius’s behaviour in court that led the judge to order a psychiatric evaluation.

The defense decided to have a psychiatrist interview Mr. Pistorius, then had the psychiatrist testify several days ago that, although Mr. Pistorius did not suffer from a mental illness — and did know right from wrong at the time he fired the shots that killed his girlfriend — he does suffer from a broad anxiety disorder.

His intense anxiety, the psychiatrist said, stems from the amputation of both legs below the knee when he was 11 months old, and was made worse by having a mother who did not “give him permission” to be disabled when he was growing up.

This condition, the psychiatrist told the court, does not involve paranoia or delusions, but “may have played a role” in Mr. Pistorius’s shooting at the closed bathroom door in the middle of the night, killing his girlfriend.

The prosecutor responded immediately to the psychiatrist’s testimony by telling the court there was “no choice, at this point,” but to have a full psychiatric evaluation done to determine whether Mr. Pistorius had a mental disorder that may have played a role in the killing of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

The defense argued that no evaluation was necessary because we are “not arguing” that Mr. Pistorius suffers from a mental illness — but after a recess, the judge agreed an evaluation was necessary to resolve the matter, and on May 20, she ordered a 30-day evaluation to begin May 26, and set June 30 for the trial to resume with a presentation of the results of the evaluation.