Court Orders 30-Day Mental Health Eval for Pistorius

Psychiatrist cites possible anxiety disorder; trial will again be delayed
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted May 14, 2014 5:00 AM CDT
Pistorius Ordered to Have Mental Health Tests
Oscar Pistorius stands in the dock in court in Pretoria, South Africa, Wednesday, May 14, 2014.   (AP Photo/Gianluigi Guercia - Pool)

Oscar Pistorius' murder trial could be on hold for a while—again. Judge Thokozile Masipa has ordered the athlete to undergo a psychiatric evaluation, the BBC reports. South Africa requires such an evaluation, Masipa said, when mental health issues are raised in a case. A forensic psychiatrist, testifying for the defense, previously said Pistorius suffered from generalized anxiety disorder. The prosecution, calling for tests, said the disorder could have affected his actions in the death of Reeva Steenkamp.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel says he doesn't believe that was the case; still, the psychiatrist's testimony required him to seek the 30-day evaluation, which could in turn delay the trial by two months. It's possible the prosecution is looking to bar the defense from claiming a disorder in the event of a conviction, the AP notes. The defense opposed the tests, the BBC reports. Pistorius' uncle, however, welcomed the judge's decision: "As a family, we are comforted by the thoroughness and detail of this judgment and Judge Masipa's commitment, using every avenue, to ensure a fair trial." (More Oscar Pistorius stories.)

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