Pistorius was stable, say tests

The murder trial of Paralympian Oscar Pistorius resumed with experts saying they had found no sign of mental illness after a month of psychiatric tests.

“Pistorius did not suffer from a mental illness or defect that would have rendered him criminally not responsible for the offence charged,” said state prosecutor Gerrie Nel.

He was reading from one of two psychologist reports prepared during four weeks of examination by a psychiatric panel and a psychologist. Both said Pistorius could be held criminally responsible.

The star runner is accused of murdering his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day last year.

He admits shooting Steenkamp with a 9 mm pistol through a locked toilet door, but says it was a mistake as he thought she was an intruder coming to attack him in the dead of night.

“Pistorius was capable of appreciating the wrongfulness of his act,” said Nel sitting in the dock, Pistorius stared straight ahead as Nel read the reports.

The month-long mental assessment was ordered by Judge Thokozile Masipa after his defence called a witness who testified that the Paralympic gold medallist has “generalised anxiety disorder.”

The defence team claimed the condition could have resulted in a heightened fear of crime that affected his judgement on the night he shot his girlfriend.

Nel who has been described as a pit bull terrier for his ruthless cross-examination style in the trial, asked the court to closely interrogate the psychiatrist’s diagnosis, fearing Pistorius may exploit concerns about his mental health to reset the case.

Defence lawyer Barry Roux said his team agreed with the report, but asked for more time to review it. “I also got this this morning,” said Judge Masipa. “I didn’t know where to look, so I decided not to touch it.”

The trial continues with the defence calling its final witnesses. The prosecution argues the shooting of Steenkamp was cold-blooded murder following a row between the young couple and has gathered evidence of a tempestuous relationship.

Pistorius spent a month attending daily sessions as an outpatient at Weskoppies Hospital outside Pretoria from May 20.

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