Oscar Pistorius Ordered To Undergo Psychiatric Evaluation

A forensic psychiatrist testifying for the defense told the court earlier this week Pistorius suffered from generalized anxiety disorder.
Posted at 8:19 AM, May 14, 2014

​The judge in the Oscar Pistorius murder trial has ordered the Olympic athlete undergo a mental evaluation — a move expected to delay the trial by as much as a month. 

The question from the very beginning of the trial has always been: What was Pistorius thinking the night he shot his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp? The point of this psychiatric testing is to evaluate whether Pistorius’ mental stability played a role that night. (Via ITN

Pistorius admits to shooting her, but says he thought she was an intruder. The prosecution argues he killed her intentionally after an argument. (Via CBS

Meryll Vorster, a forensic psychiatrist testifying for the defense, told the court earlier this week Pistorius suffered from what's known as generalized anxiety disorder caused by his amputation and family problems.  (Via Channel 4

In other words, a condition that would make him more likely to fight than runaway when confronted with danger.

VORSTER: "He was aware that he was a public figure and believed that this made him at an increased risk of being attacked or burgled." (Via Sky News)

The psychiatrist also said that despite Pistorius’ fame, he’s very self-conscious and ashamed of his disability. (Via Euronews

​Throughout the trial, Pistorius has broken down repeatedly — sobbing and at times getting sick. Vorster says this distress appeared genuine. (Via Daily Mirror, Time, New York Daily News

But the defense’s strategy of putting a psychiatrist on the stand seemingly backfired when the prosecution argued Pistorius should be sent for independent psychiatric testing to determine if what Vorster was saying was true. 

GERRIE NEL: “His physical disability and his general anxiety disorder … and that should leave to a referral.” (Via ENCA) 

But on the other hand, as CNN’s Kelly Phelps argues, the mental evaluation could work in the defense’s favor. Pistorius could be acquitted if experts determine he wasn’t criminally responsible as a result of his anxiety disorder.

“A report that is substantially in line with Merryll Vorster’s report, that will fact have backfired  for the state because it will further strengthen Merryl Vorster’s evidence.” (Via CNN

The judge did say Wednesday, her ruling wasn’t meant to punish Pistorius and she recommended outpatient evaluation. Next week she'll announce details of when and where he'll be tested.