(CNN) — Oscar Pistorius was not mentally incapacitated when he shot his girlfriend to death, a psychiatric assessment of the athlete found. The results of the assessment were revealed in court Monday when the Olympic sprinter’s trial resumed after a month-long break for the evaluation. [UPDATE]
AFTER BEING halted for 30 days so Oscar Pistorius could be evaluated and his mental condition assessed, the star athlete’s trial resumes today. He’s been at Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital in Pretoria since May 27.
Judge Thokozile Masipa sent him to be evaluated by a group of 4 experts, after what many believe was a series of Emmy Award winning television court performances that created a doubt about his mental stability as much as they did whether a so-called anxiety disorder was really at the cause of the whole catastrophe.
As I’ve written before, you’ll never convince me that a man experienced in firearms would shoot through a closed door without first making sure where the supposed love of his life was before he unloaded his firearm, unless he was doing so out of anger and knew who he was shooting and why.
The big question being asked across the media covering the trial is will Oscar Pistorius be declared mentally unstable? The consensus answer is yes.
NBC News postulates what the ruling could be.
- Experts could say Pistorius was not aware of what he did when he shot Steenkamp because of mental illness. They could also say they didn’t find him fit to stand trial due to his mental state now. Both would bring the trial to an abrupt end and result in Pistorius being committed to a mental institution until he was ruled to no longer be a threat to the public.
- He could be found to have diminished responsibility in the murder due to his anxiety disorder, which would mean the trial would continue but he could get a lesser sentence if he is found guilty.
- The experts could disagree entirely with the psychiatrist that the defense called to the stand who raised the question of mental health in the first place, and the court will make its own finding based on testimony on Pistorius.
- Or, the panel could ask for more time to evaluate Pistorius if they were unable to reach a decision after the 30-day evaluation period, and the trial would again be delayed. If they couldn’t reach a unanimous decision but don’t ask for more time, the court could launch a separate trial to determine whether Pistorius is mentally fit.
In an eery similarity to the O.J. Simpson trial when prosecutor William Hodgman was hospitalized with chest pains, one of the doctors on the panel to evaluate Pistorius was also hospitalized with chest pains.
If Oscar Pistorius is convicted of murder he could get from 15 to 25 years. If he’s judged guilty of a lesser crime he could get off with no jail time at all.
Oscar Pistorius showed anxiety on the witness stand and for good reasons.
Veteran South African attorney Renier Spies believes the defense cleverly introduced the anxiety disorder as a means to detract from Pistorius’ poor performance on the witness stand. But the prosecution then countered by calling for a psychiatric evaluation.
“The prosecutor, by forcing this evaluation, hopes to pull the gut out of Oscar’s already destroyed credibility. He would take what has been almost destroyed completely and there would be nothing left,” Spies said.