News / Africa

Prosecutors Seek Mental Evaluation for Pistorius

Oscar Pistorius listens to psychiatric evidence for his defense during his ongoing murder trial in Pretoria, South Africa, May 13, 2014.
Oscar Pistorius listens to psychiatric evidence for his defense during his ongoing murder trial in Pretoria, South Africa, May 13, 2014.
VOA News
Prosecutors at the trial of South African runner Oscar Pistorius have called for him to undergo a mental evaluation, after a defense witness said he had an anxiety disorder.

If granted by the court, the request for a 30-day psychiatric evaluation could delay Pistorius' murder trial.

Judge Thokozile Masipa said she would rule on the request on Wednesday.
 
  • Oscar Pistorius stands in the dock in court in Pretoria, South Africa, May 14, 2014.
  • Oscar Pistorius talks with his uncle Arnold Pistorius during his murder trial in Pretoria, South Africa, May 13, 2014.
  • Oscar Pistorius is greeted by a supporter on his arrival in court for his murder trial in Pretoria, South Africa, May 13, 2014.
  • Children react as Oscar Pistorius leaves the high court in Pretoria, South Africa, May 12, 2014.
  • Oscar Pistorius looks back as he arrives at the high court in Pretoria, May 6, 2014.
  • June Steenkamp, mother of Reeva Steenkamp, arrives at the high court in Pretoria, May 6, 2014.
  • Kayla Nolan is comforted by her mother, Lynette Nolan, after meeting Oscar Pistorius upon his arrival at the high court in Pretoria, May 5, 2014.
  • June Steenkamp loses her composure as she listens to evidence by the defense in the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius, Pretoria, May 5, 2014.
  • Oscar Pistorius cradles his head in his hands during court proceedings in Pretoria, May 5, 2014.

Earlier, a forensic psychiatrist, Dr. Merryll Vorster, testified that Pistorius had General Anxiety Disorder (GAD), a chronic condition that causes fear and worry.  

Defense lawyers could use her testimony to bolster their claim that the runner's shooting of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp last year was accidental. The athlete says he thought he was shooting at an intruder when he fired shots through a closed bathroom door in his home.

Prosecutors argue Pistorius shot Steenkamp intentionally after a heated argument.

If convicted, the athlete could face life in prison.

Pistorius is known as the "blade runner" for his carbon-fiber prosthetic legs. In 2012, he became the first double amputee to compete in the Olympics.

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