Pistorius had no mental disorder at time of shooting - report

PRETORIA Mon Jun 30, 2014 9:00pm IST

South African Olympic and Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius talks to his defence lawyer Barry Roux (L) during his murder trial in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria June 30, 2014. REUTERS/Ihsaan Haffejee/Pool

South African Olympic and Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius talks to his defence lawyer Barry Roux (L) during his murder trial in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria June 30, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Ihsaan Haffejee/Pool

PRETORIA (Reuters) - Oscar Pistorius, the South African sprinter on trial for murder for shooting his girlfriend, was not suffering from a mental condition at the time she was killed, a psychiatric report said on Monday.

Pistorius, who competed in the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics, has admitted to shooting dead his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, but maintains he mistook her for an intruder hiding in his toilet in an upmarket Pretoria suburb.

The trial, which began in March, took a month-long break to allow the 27-year-old to undergo tests at Pretoria's Weskoppies hospital after a forensic psychologist brought by the defence testified he had an anxiety disorder.

The defence has only a few more witnesses to call before the trial reaches the verdict stage.

Judge Thokozile Masipa said it was important to find out whether the condition affected his criminal responsibility.

"At the time of the alleged offences, the accused did not suffer from a mental disorder or mental defect that affected his ability to distinguish between the rightful or wrongful nature of his deeds," Prosecutor Gerrie Nel read from a report submitted to the court.

Both Nel and defence lawyer Barry Roux accepted the findings of a panel of psychiatrists and psychologists after 30 days of evaluation.

SOUND EXPERT

During the trial, prosecutors have tried to paint a picture of a self-obsessed Pistorius who knowingly killed his law graduate girlfriend as she cowered behind a locked bathroom door. Pistorius could face a life sentence if found guilty of the shooting on Valentine's Day last year.

Following the assessment report, Pistorius' defence called sound expert Ivan Lin, who questioned whether neighbours 177 metres (193 yards) away could have heard screams coming from the toilet, or identified them as a man or woman.

"At 177 metres away, if the scream was from the toilet, it is highly unlikely that the listener can hear the screams, let alone interpret the sound source reliably," he said

Lin's testimony, which is yet to be cross-examined, comes after state witness and Pistorius neighbour Michelle Burger testified that she was woken in the middle of the night by "bloodcurdling screams" from a woman, followed by shots.

Pistorius competed against able-bodied sprinters on carbon-fibre prosthetics, becoming one of the most recognised names in athletics. Besides a clutch of Paralympic medals, he reached the semi-finals of the 400m at the London 2012 Olympics.

(Writing by Helen Nyambura-Mwaura and Tiisetso Motsoeneng; Editing by Ed Cropley and Tom Heneghan)

Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

CRICKET

Reuters Showcase

Legend On Board

Legend On Board

McGrath to train next generation of Indian pace bowlers.  Full Article 

Not Quitting Yet

Not Quitting Yet

Injured Australia captain Clarke rules out ODI retirement.  Full Article | Related Story 

Poor Form

Poor Form

Misbah going back to basics to solve batting slump.  Full Article 

Premier League

Premier League

Analysis: Premier League the biggest winner as talent pours in.  Full Article 

Manager Speaks

Manager Speaks

Foreign players can help England, says Hodgson.  Full Article 

Golf Update

Golf Update

Ryder Cup joy for veteran Westwood and rookie Gallacher.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage