Accessibility links

Experts: Pistorius Had No Mental Illness on Night of Killing

  • VOA News

Oscar Pistorius, front left, listens to evidence in court in Pretoria, South Africa, June 30, 2014.

Oscar Pistorius, front left, listens to evidence in court in Pretoria, South Africa, June 30, 2014.

A report by mental health experts says South African runner Oscar Pistorius was not affected by a mental defect or mental illness when he fatally shot his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

The athlete's murder trial resumed Monday after being on hold for a month while he underwent evaluations by a team of psychiatrists and a psychologist.

The court ordered the test after a psychiatris testified for the defense that Pistorius, who has said he feels vulnerable because of his disability and long-held worry about crime, had an anxiety disorder that could have contributed to the killing in the early hours of Feb. 14, 2013.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel read two passages from the panel's report Monday that concluded Pistorius, 27, could be held criminally responsible for the shooting of Steenkamp, 29.

"Mr. Pistorius was capable of appreciating the wrongfulness of his act, and of acting in accordance with an appreciation of the wrongfulness of his act," said Nel.

Both Nel and defense attorney Barry Roux said both sides accept the basic findings of the report, but each said there may be individual factual statements they may want to contest in later testimony.

After discussing the report, Roux resumed presenting the defense's case by calling an orthopedic surgeon to the witness stand.

The court has already heard from a variety of witnesses, including a forensics analyst, a security guard from the athlete's gated community, neighbors who described what they heard that night, and five days of testimony from Pistorius himself.

Pistorius said he is not guilty of murder, and that he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder the night he shot her through a bathroom door at his Pretoria home.

The prosecution has charged that Pistorius killed the model after an argument.

Pistorius is known as the "blade runner" for his carbon-fiber prosthetic legs. He was the first double-amputee to compete in the Olympics at the 2012 games in London.

Pistorius faces 25 years to life in prison if found guilty of premeditated murder, and could also face years in prison if convicted of murder without premeditation or negligent killing. He is free on bail.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters and AP.