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Pistorius to be sent for psychiatric tests

KDWN

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — Oscar Pistorius will undergo psychiatric evaluation after the judge ruled at his murder trial Wednesday that his state of mind when he killed his girlfriend should be assessed by experts, possibly delaying court proceedings for two months.

The ruling was prompted by testimony by a psychiatrist on behalf of the defense that the double-amputee Olympic athlete has generalized anxiety disorder and that this may have influenced his judgment when he fatally shot Reeva Steenkamp through a toilet door in his home on Feb. 14, 2013.

The chief prosecutor, Gerrie Nel, then requested psychiatric testing – a move opposed by Pistorius’ chief lawyer. Judge Thokozile Masipa agreed with the prosecutor, saying it was important to independently assess Pistorius’ state of mind because the defense might now argue that he was not criminally responsible for the shooting because of his anxiety disorder.

“The accused may not have raised the issue that he was not criminally responsible at the time of the incident in so many words, but evidence led on his behalf clearly raised the issue and cannot be ignored,” the judge said. Pistorius will likely be evaluated by a panel of psychiatrists at a government facility.

Pistorius says he shot Steenkamp by mistake in the pre-dawn hours, thinking there was an intruder in his home. His lawyers have regularly pointed to his fear of violent crime and vulnerability as an amputee as central to his account of a mistaken killing. After meeting with Pistorius on two occasions at the beginning of this month, Dr. Merryll Vorster testified this week that he was “hyper-vigilant” and constantly feared being attacked.

But legal analysts said the defense team’s decision to introduce Vorster’s testimony may have backfired. John Welch, former deputy director of South Africa’s public prosecuting authority, said Pistorius’ lawyers may have called the psychiatrist to the stand at such a late stage in the trial to “remedy” the athlete’s own testimony, which has been viewed as unconvincing. But in testifying that Pistorius was anxious, felt vulnerable to crime and may not have intended to kill Steenkamp, Vorster possibly “went too far” in her description of the psychiatric disorder, according to Welch.

Pistorius, 27, stood with his hands clasped in front of him in the courtroom as the judge explained her decision. He could be acquitted if the judge rules he was not criminally responsible for Steenkamp’s shooting because of a mental illness. A mental disorder could also be used by his defense for a lighter sentence in the event of a conviction.

The prosecution says Pistorius killed Steenkamp intentionally after an argument. In asking for the psychiatric evaluation, Nel may be trying to remove grounds for appeal by the defense – on the basis of a psychiatric disorder – should he be convicted.

Judge Masipa said the court would reconvene on Tuesday to decide on details regarding Pistorius’ period of observation. In South Africa, it is normally for 30 days. Masipa said it would be preferable that Pistorius be evaluated as an outpatient and return home each day after tests. He is free on bail after being charged with premeditated murder.

After his tests, the experts who assess Pistorius would take additional time to compile a report and submit it to the court. That could take another month, raising the possibility of a two-month delay in the trial, which started March 3 and is in its eighth week of proceedings.

The judge acknowledged that there would be a significant delay, but said it was necessary.

“This is not about anyone’s convenience, but rather about whether justice has been served,” Masipa said.

Marius du Toit, a defense lawyer not involved in the case but following it closely, said a panel of three psychiatrists would provide the court with a report on Pistorius, and it may also deal with the issue of his fitness to stand trial at all.

Despite the defense team’s opposition to the psychiatric evaluation, Pistorius’ uncle, Arnold Pistorius, said outside the courthouse that the ruling reaffirmed the family’s confidence in the justice system.

“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,” Arnold Pistorius said in his prepared statement.

Imray reported from Stellenbosch, South Africa.

Pistorius to be sent for psychiatric tests

KDWN

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — Oscar Pistorius will undergo psychiatric evaluation after the judge ruled at his murder trial Wednesday that his state of mind when he killed his girlfriend should be assessed by experts, possibly delaying court proceedings for two months.

The ruling was prompted by testimony by a psychiatrist on behalf of the defense that the double-amputee Olympic athlete has generalized anxiety disorder and that this may have influenced his judgment when he fatally shot Reeva Steenkamp through a toilet door in his home on Feb. 14, 2013.

The chief prosecutor, Gerrie Nel, then requested psychiatric testing – a move opposed by Pistorius’ chief lawyer. Judge Thokozile Masipa agreed with the prosecutor, saying it was important to independently assess Pistorius’ state of mind because the defense might now argue that he was not criminally responsible for the shooting because of his anxiety disorder.

“The accused may not have raised the issue that he was not criminally responsible at the time of the incident in so many words, but evidence led on his behalf clearly raised the issue and cannot be ignored,” the judge said. Pistorius will likely be evaluated by a panel of psychiatrists at a government facility.

Pistorius says he shot Steenkamp by mistake in the pre-dawn hours, thinking there was an intruder in his home. His lawyers have regularly pointed to his fear of violent crime and vulnerability as an amputee as central to his account of a mistaken killing. After meeting with Pistorius on two occasions at the beginning of this month, Dr. Merryll Vorster testified this week that he was “hyper-vigilant” and constantly feared being attacked.

But legal analysts said the defense team’s decision to introduce Vorster’s testimony may have backfired. John Welch, former deputy director of South Africa’s public prosecuting authority, said Pistorius’ lawyers may have called the psychiatrist to the stand at such a late stage in the trial to “remedy” the athlete’s own testimony, which has been viewed as unconvincing. But in testifying that Pistorius was anxious, felt vulnerable to crime and may not have intended to kill Steenkamp, Vorster possibly “went too far” in her description of the psychiatric disorder, according to Welch.

Pistorius, 27, stood with his hands clasped in front of him in the courtroom as the judge explained her decision. He could be acquitted if the judge rules he was not criminally responsible for Steenkamp’s shooting because of a mental illness. A mental disorder could also be used by his defense for a lighter sentence in the event of a conviction.

The prosecution says Pistorius killed Steenkamp intentionally after an argument. In asking for the psychiatric evaluation, Nel may be trying to remove grounds for appeal by the defense – on the basis of a psychiatric disorder – should he be convicted.

Judge Masipa said the court would reconvene on Tuesday to decide on details regarding Pistorius’ period of observation. In South Africa, it is normally for 30 days. Masipa said it would be preferable that Pistorius be evaluated as an outpatient and return home each day after tests. He is free on bail after being charged with premeditated murder.

After his tests, the experts who assess Pistorius would take additional time to compile a report and submit it to the court. That could take another month, raising the possibility of a two-month delay in the trial, which started March 3 and is in its eighth week of proceedings.

The judge acknowledged that there would be a significant delay, but said it was necessary.

“This is not about anyone’s convenience, but rather about whether justice has been served,” Masipa said.

Marius du Toit, a defense lawyer not involved in the case but following it closely, said a panel of three psychiatrists would provide the court with a report on Pistorius, and it may also deal with the issue of his fitness to stand trial at all.

Despite the defense team’s opposition to the psychiatric evaluation, Pistorius’ uncle, Arnold Pistorius, said outside the courthouse that the ruling reaffirmed the family’s confidence in the justice system.

“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,” Arnold Pistorius said in his prepared statement.

Imray reported from Stellenbosch, South Africa.

Pistorius to be sent for psychiatric tests

KDWN

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — Oscar Pistorius will undergo psychiatric evaluation after the judge ruled at his murder trial Wednesday that his state of mind when he killed his girlfriend should be assessed by experts, possibly delaying court proceedings for two months.

The ruling was prompted by testimony by a psychiatrist on behalf of the defense that the double-amputee Olympic athlete has generalized anxiety disorder and that this may have influenced his judgment when he fatally shot Reeva Steenkamp through a toilet door in his home on Feb. 14, 2013.

The chief prosecutor, Gerrie Nel, then requested psychiatric testing – a move opposed by Pistorius’ chief lawyer. Judge Thokozile Masipa agreed with the prosecutor, saying it was important to independently assess Pistorius’ state of mind because the defense might now argue that he was not criminally responsible for the shooting because of his anxiety disorder.

“The accused may not have raised the issue that he was not criminally responsible at the time of the incident in so many words, but evidence led on his behalf clearly raised the issue and cannot be ignored,” the judge said. Pistorius will likely be evaluated by a panel of psychiatrists at a government facility.

Pistorius says he shot Steenkamp by mistake in the pre-dawn hours, thinking there was an intruder in his home. His lawyers have regularly pointed to his fear of violent crime and vulnerability as an amputee as central to his account of a mistaken killing. After meeting with Pistorius on two occasions at the beginning of this month, Dr. Merryll Vorster testified this week that he was “hyper-vigilant” and constantly feared being attacked.

But legal analysts said the defense team’s decision to introduce Vorster’s testimony may have backfired. John Welch, former deputy director of South Africa’s public prosecuting authority, said Pistorius’ lawyers may have called the psychiatrist to the stand at such a late stage in the trial to “remedy” the athlete’s own testimony, which has been viewed as unconvincing. But in testifying that Pistorius was anxious, felt vulnerable to crime and may not have intended to kill Steenkamp, Vorster possibly “went too far” in her description of the psychiatric disorder, according to Welch.

Pistorius, 27, stood with his hands clasped in front of him in the courtroom as the judge explained her decision. He could be acquitted if the judge rules he was not criminally responsible for Steenkamp’s shooting because of a mental illness. A mental disorder could also be used by his defense for a lighter sentence in the event of a conviction.

The prosecution says Pistorius killed Steenkamp intentionally after an argument. In asking for the psychiatric evaluation, Nel may be trying to remove grounds for appeal by the defense – on the basis of a psychiatric disorder – should he be convicted.

Judge Masipa said the court would reconvene on Tuesday to decide on details regarding Pistorius’ period of observation. In South Africa, it is normally for 30 days. Masipa said it would be preferable that Pistorius be evaluated as an outpatient and return home each day after tests. He is free on bail after being charged with premeditated murder.

After his tests, the experts who assess Pistorius would take additional time to compile a report and submit it to the court. That could take another month, raising the possibility of a two-month delay in the trial, which started March 3 and is in its eighth week of proceedings.

The judge acknowledged that there would be a significant delay, but said it was necessary.

“This is not about anyone’s convenience, but rather about whether justice has been served,” Masipa said.

Marius du Toit, a defense lawyer not involved in the case but following it closely, said a panel of three psychiatrists would provide the court with a report on Pistorius, and it may also deal with the issue of his fitness to stand trial at all.

Despite the defense team’s opposition to the psychiatric evaluation, Pistorius’ uncle, Arnold Pistorius, said outside the courthouse that the ruling reaffirmed the family’s confidence in the justice system.

“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,” Arnold Pistorius said in his prepared statement.

Imray reported from Stellenbosch, South Africa.

Pistorius to be sent for psychiatric tests

KDWN

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — Oscar Pistorius will undergo psychiatric evaluation after the judge ruled at his murder trial Wednesday that his state of mind when he killed his girlfriend should be assessed by experts, possibly delaying court proceedings for two months.

The ruling was prompted by testimony by a psychiatrist on behalf of the defense that the double-amputee Olympic athlete has generalized anxiety disorder and that this may have influenced his judgment when he fatally shot Reeva Steenkamp through a toilet door in his home on Feb. 14, 2013.

The chief prosecutor, Gerrie Nel, then requested psychiatric testing – a move opposed by Pistorius’ chief lawyer. Judge Thokozile Masipa agreed with the prosecutor, saying it was important to independently assess Pistorius’ state of mind because the defense might now argue that he was not criminally responsible for the shooting because of his anxiety disorder.

“The accused may not have raised the issue that he was not criminally responsible at the time of the incident in so many words, but evidence led on his behalf clearly raised the issue and cannot be ignored,” the judge said. Pistorius will likely be evaluated by a panel of psychiatrists at a government facility.

Pistorius says he shot Steenkamp by mistake in the pre-dawn hours, thinking there was an intruder in his home. His lawyers have regularly pointed to his fear of violent crime and vulnerability as an amputee as central to his account of a mistaken killing. After meeting with Pistorius on two occasions at the beginning of this month, Dr. Merryll Vorster testified this week that he was “hyper-vigilant” and constantly feared being attacked.

But legal analysts said the defense team’s decision to introduce Vorster’s testimony may have backfired. John Welch, former deputy director of South Africa’s public prosecuting authority, said Pistorius’ lawyers may have called the psychiatrist to the stand at such a late stage in the trial to “remedy” the athlete’s own testimony, which has been viewed as unconvincing. But in testifying that Pistorius was anxious, felt vulnerable to crime and may not have intended to kill Steenkamp, Vorster possibly “went too far” in her description of the psychiatric disorder, according to Welch.

Pistorius, 27, stood with his hands clasped in front of him in the courtroom as the judge explained her decision. He could be acquitted if the judge rules he was not criminally responsible for Steenkamp’s shooting because of a mental illness. A mental disorder could also be used by his defense for a lighter sentence in the event of a conviction.

The prosecution says Pistorius killed Steenkamp intentionally after an argument. In asking for the psychiatric evaluation, Nel may be trying to remove grounds for appeal by the defense – on the basis of a psychiatric disorder – should he be convicted.

Judge Masipa said the court would reconvene on Tuesday to decide on details regarding Pistorius’ period of observation. In South Africa, it is normally for 30 days. Masipa said it would be preferable that Pistorius be evaluated as an outpatient and return home each day after tests. He is free on bail after being charged with premeditated murder.

After his tests, the experts who assess Pistorius would take additional time to compile a report and submit it to the court. That could take another month, raising the possibility of a two-month delay in the trial, which started March 3 and is in its eighth week of proceedings.

The judge acknowledged that there would be a significant delay, but said it was necessary.

“This is not about anyone’s convenience, but rather about whether justice has been served,” Masipa said.

Marius du Toit, a defense lawyer not involved in the case but following it closely, said a panel of three psychiatrists would provide the court with a report on Pistorius, and it may also deal with the issue of his fitness to stand trial at all.

Despite the defense team’s opposition to the psychiatric evaluation, Pistorius’ uncle, Arnold Pistorius, said outside the courthouse that the ruling reaffirmed the family’s confidence in the justice system.

“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,” Arnold Pistorius said in his prepared statement.

Imray reported from Stellenbosch, South Africa.

Pistorius to be sent for psychiatric tests

KDWN

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — Oscar Pistorius will undergo psychiatric evaluation after the judge ruled at his murder trial Wednesday that his state of mind when he killed his girlfriend should be assessed by experts, possibly delaying court proceedings for two months.

The ruling was prompted by testimony by a psychiatrist on behalf of the defense that the double-amputee Olympic athlete has generalized anxiety disorder and that this may have influenced his judgment when he fatally shot Reeva Steenkamp through a toilet door in his home on Feb. 14, 2013.

The chief prosecutor, Gerrie Nel, then requested psychiatric testing – a move opposed by Pistorius’ chief lawyer. Judge Thokozile Masipa agreed with the prosecutor, saying it was important to independently assess Pistorius’ state of mind because the defense might now argue that he was not criminally responsible for the shooting because of his anxiety disorder.

“The accused may not have raised the issue that he was not criminally responsible at the time of the incident in so many words, but evidence led on his behalf clearly raised the issue and cannot be ignored,” the judge said. Pistorius will likely be evaluated by a panel of psychiatrists at a government facility.

Pistorius says he shot Steenkamp by mistake in the pre-dawn hours, thinking there was an intruder in his home. His lawyers have regularly pointed to his fear of violent crime and vulnerability as an amputee as central to his account of a mistaken killing. After meeting with Pistorius on two occasions at the beginning of this month, Dr. Merryll Vorster testified this week that he was “hyper-vigilant” and constantly feared being attacked.

But legal analysts said the defense team’s decision to introduce Vorster’s testimony may have backfired. John Welch, former deputy director of South Africa’s public prosecuting authority, said Pistorius’ lawyers may have called the psychiatrist to the stand at such a late stage in the trial to “remedy” the athlete’s own testimony, which has been viewed as unconvincing. But in testifying that Pistorius was anxious, felt vulnerable to crime and may not have intended to kill Steenkamp, Vorster possibly “went too far” in her description of the psychiatric disorder, according to Welch.

Pistorius, 27, stood with his hands clasped in front of him in the courtroom as the judge explained her decision. He could be acquitted if the judge rules he was not criminally responsible for Steenkamp’s shooting because of a mental illness. A mental disorder could also be used by his defense for a lighter sentence in the event of a conviction.

The prosecution says Pistorius killed Steenkamp intentionally after an argument. In asking for the psychiatric evaluation, Nel may be trying to remove grounds for appeal by the defense – on the basis of a psychiatric disorder – should he be convicted.

Judge Masipa said the court would reconvene on Tuesday to decide on details regarding Pistorius’ period of observation. In South Africa, it is normally for 30 days. Masipa said it would be preferable that Pistorius be evaluated as an outpatient and return home each day after tests. He is free on bail after being charged with premeditated murder.

After his tests, the experts who assess Pistorius would take additional time to compile a report and submit it to the court. That could take another month, raising the possibility of a two-month delay in the trial, which started March 3 and is in its eighth week of proceedings.

The judge acknowledged that there would be a significant delay, but said it was necessary.

“This is not about anyone’s convenience, but rather about whether justice has been served,” Masipa said.

Marius du Toit, a defense lawyer not involved in the case but following it closely, said a panel of three psychiatrists would provide the court with a report on Pistorius, and it may also deal with the issue of his fitness to stand trial at all.

Despite the defense team’s opposition to the psychiatric evaluation, Pistorius’ uncle, Arnold Pistorius, said outside the courthouse that the ruling reaffirmed the family’s confidence in the justice system.

“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,” Arnold Pistorius said in his prepared statement.

Imray reported from Stellenbosch, South Africa.

Pistorius to be sent for psychiatric tests

KDWN

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — Oscar Pistorius will undergo psychiatric evaluation after the judge ruled at his murder trial Wednesday that his state of mind when he killed his girlfriend should be assessed by experts, possibly delaying court proceedings for two months.

The ruling was prompted by testimony by a psychiatrist on behalf of the defense that the double-amputee Olympic athlete has generalized anxiety disorder and that this may have influenced his judgment when he fatally shot Reeva Steenkamp through a toilet door in his home on Feb. 14, 2013.

The chief prosecutor, Gerrie Nel, then requested psychiatric testing – a move opposed by Pistorius’ chief lawyer. Judge Thokozile Masipa agreed with the prosecutor, saying it was important to independently assess Pistorius’ state of mind because the defense might now argue that he was not criminally responsible for the shooting because of his anxiety disorder.

“The accused may not have raised the issue that he was not criminally responsible at the time of the incident in so many words, but evidence led on his behalf clearly raised the issue and cannot be ignored,” the judge said. Pistorius will likely be evaluated by a panel of psychiatrists at a government facility.

Pistorius says he shot Steenkamp by mistake in the pre-dawn hours, thinking there was an intruder in his home. His lawyers have regularly pointed to his fear of violent crime and vulnerability as an amputee as central to his account of a mistaken killing. After meeting with Pistorius on two occasions at the beginning of this month, Dr. Merryll Vorster testified this week that he was “hyper-vigilant” and constantly feared being attacked.

But legal analysts said the defense team’s decision to introduce Vorster’s testimony may have backfired. John Welch, former deputy director of South Africa’s public prosecuting authority, said Pistorius’ lawyers may have called the psychiatrist to the stand at such a late stage in the trial to “remedy” the athlete’s own testimony, which has been viewed as unconvincing. But in testifying that Pistorius was anxious, felt vulnerable to crime and may not have intended to kill Steenkamp, Vorster possibly “went too far” in her description of the psychiatric disorder, according to Welch.

Pistorius, 27, stood with his hands clasped in front of him in the courtroom as the judge explained her decision. He could be acquitted if the judge rules he was not criminally responsible for Steenkamp’s shooting because of a mental illness. A mental disorder could also be used by his defense for a lighter sentence in the event of a conviction.

The prosecution says Pistorius killed Steenkamp intentionally after an argument. In asking for the psychiatric evaluation, Nel may be trying to remove grounds for appeal by the defense – on the basis of a psychiatric disorder – should he be convicted.

Judge Masipa said the court would reconvene on Tuesday to decide on details regarding Pistorius’ period of observation. In South Africa, it is normally for 30 days. Masipa said it would be preferable that Pistorius be evaluated as an outpatient and return home each day after tests. He is free on bail after being charged with premeditated murder.

After his tests, the experts who assess Pistorius would take additional time to compile a report and submit it to the court. That could take another month, raising the possibility of a two-month delay in the trial, which started March 3 and is in its eighth week of proceedings.

The judge acknowledged that there would be a significant delay, but said it was necessary.

“This is not about anyone’s convenience, but rather about whether justice has been served,” Masipa said.

Marius du Toit, a defense lawyer not involved in the case but following it closely, said a panel of three psychiatrists would provide the court with a report on Pistorius, and it may also deal with the issue of his fitness to stand trial at all.

Despite the defense team’s opposition to the psychiatric evaluation, Pistorius’ uncle, Arnold Pistorius, said outside the courthouse that the ruling reaffirmed the family’s confidence in the justice system.

“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,” Arnold Pistorius said in his prepared statement.

Imray reported from Stellenbosch, South Africa.

Pistorius to be sent for psychiatric tests

KDWN

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — Oscar Pistorius will undergo psychiatric evaluation after the judge ruled at his murder trial Wednesday that his state of mind when he killed his girlfriend should be assessed by experts, possibly delaying court proceedings for two months.

The ruling was prompted by testimony by a psychiatrist on behalf of the defense that the double-amputee Olympic athlete has generalized anxiety disorder and that this may have influenced his judgment when he fatally shot Reeva Steenkamp through a toilet door in his home on Feb. 14, 2013.

The chief prosecutor, Gerrie Nel, then requested psychiatric testing – a move opposed by Pistorius’ chief lawyer. Judge Thokozile Masipa agreed with the prosecutor, saying it was important to independently assess Pistorius’ state of mind because the defense might now argue that he was not criminally responsible for the shooting because of his anxiety disorder.

“The accused may not have raised the issue that he was not criminally responsible at the time of the incident in so many words, but evidence led on his behalf clearly raised the issue and cannot be ignored,” the judge said. Pistorius will likely be evaluated by a panel of psychiatrists at a government facility.

Pistorius says he shot Steenkamp by mistake in the pre-dawn hours, thinking there was an intruder in his home. His lawyers have regularly pointed to his fear of violent crime and vulnerability as an amputee as central to his account of a mistaken killing. After meeting with Pistorius on two occasions at the beginning of this month, Dr. Merryll Vorster testified this week that he was “hyper-vigilant” and constantly feared being attacked.

But legal analysts said the defense team’s decision to introduce Vorster’s testimony may have backfired. John Welch, former deputy director of South Africa’s public prosecuting authority, said Pistorius’ lawyers may have called the psychiatrist to the stand at such a late stage in the trial to “remedy” the athlete’s own testimony, which has been viewed as unconvincing. But in testifying that Pistorius was anxious, felt vulnerable to crime and may not have intended to kill Steenkamp, Vorster possibly “went too far” in her description of the psychiatric disorder, according to Welch.

Pistorius, 27, stood with his hands clasped in front of him in the courtroom as the judge explained her decision. He could be acquitted if the judge rules he was not criminally responsible for Steenkamp’s shooting because of a mental illness. A mental disorder could also be used by his defense for a lighter sentence in the event of a conviction.

The prosecution says Pistorius killed Steenkamp intentionally after an argument. In asking for the psychiatric evaluation, Nel may be trying to remove grounds for appeal by the defense – on the basis of a psychiatric disorder – should he be convicted.

Judge Masipa said the court would reconvene on Tuesday to decide on details regarding Pistorius’ period of observation. In South Africa, it is normally for 30 days. Masipa said it would be preferable that Pistorius be evaluated as an outpatient and return home each day after tests. He is free on bail after being charged with premeditated murder.

After his tests, the experts who assess Pistorius would take additional time to compile a report and submit it to the court. That could take another month, raising the possibility of a two-month delay in the trial, which started March 3 and is in its eighth week of proceedings.

The judge acknowledged that there would be a significant delay, but said it was necessary.

“This is not about anyone’s convenience, but rather about whether justice has been served,” Masipa said.

Marius du Toit, a defense lawyer not involved in the case but following it closely, said a panel of three psychiatrists would provide the court with a report on Pistorius, and it may also deal with the issue of his fitness to stand trial at all.

Despite the defense team’s opposition to the psychiatric evaluation, Pistorius’ uncle, Arnold Pistorius, said outside the courthouse that the ruling reaffirmed the family’s confidence in the justice system.

“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,” Arnold Pistorius said in his prepared statement.

Imray reported from Stellenbosch, South Africa.

Pistorius to be sent for psychiatric tests

KDWN

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — Oscar Pistorius will undergo psychiatric evaluation after the judge ruled at his murder trial Wednesday that his state of mind when he killed his girlfriend should be assessed by experts, possibly delaying court proceedings for two months.

The ruling was prompted by testimony by a psychiatrist on behalf of the defense that the double-amputee Olympic athlete has generalized anxiety disorder and that this may have influenced his judgment when he fatally shot Reeva Steenkamp through a toilet door in his home on Feb. 14, 2013.

The chief prosecutor, Gerrie Nel, then requested psychiatric testing – a move opposed by Pistorius’ chief lawyer. Judge Thokozile Masipa agreed with the prosecutor, saying it was important to independently assess Pistorius’ state of mind because the defense might now argue that he was not criminally responsible for the shooting because of his anxiety disorder.

“The accused may not have raised the issue that he was not criminally responsible at the time of the incident in so many words, but evidence led on his behalf clearly raised the issue and cannot be ignored,” the judge said. Pistorius will likely be evaluated by a panel of psychiatrists at a government facility.

Pistorius says he shot Steenkamp by mistake in the pre-dawn hours, thinking there was an intruder in his home. His lawyers have regularly pointed to his fear of violent crime and vulnerability as an amputee as central to his account of a mistaken killing. After meeting with Pistorius on two occasions at the beginning of this month, Dr. Merryll Vorster testified this week that he was “hyper-vigilant” and constantly feared being attacked.

But legal analysts said the defense team’s decision to introduce Vorster’s testimony may have backfired. John Welch, former deputy director of South Africa’s public prosecuting authority, said Pistorius’ lawyers may have called the psychiatrist to the stand at such a late stage in the trial to “remedy” the athlete’s own testimony, which has been viewed as unconvincing. But in testifying that Pistorius was anxious, felt vulnerable to crime and may not have intended to kill Steenkamp, Vorster possibly “went too far” in her description of the psychiatric disorder, according to Welch.

Pistorius, 27, stood with his hands clasped in front of him in the courtroom as the judge explained her decision. He could be acquitted if the judge rules he was not criminally responsible for Steenkamp’s shooting because of a mental illness. A mental disorder could also be used by his defense for a lighter sentence in the event of a conviction.

The prosecution says Pistorius killed Steenkamp intentionally after an argument. In asking for the psychiatric evaluation, Nel may be trying to remove grounds for appeal by the defense – on the basis of a psychiatric disorder – should he be convicted.

Judge Masipa said the court would reconvene on Tuesday to decide on details regarding Pistorius’ period of observation. In South Africa, it is normally for 30 days. Masipa said it would be preferable that Pistorius be evaluated as an outpatient and return home each day after tests. He is free on bail after being charged with premeditated murder.

After his tests, the experts who assess Pistorius would take additional time to compile a report and submit it to the court. That could take another month, raising the possibility of a two-month delay in the trial, which started March 3 and is in its eighth week of proceedings.

The judge acknowledged that there would be a significant delay, but said it was necessary.

“This is not about anyone’s convenience, but rather about whether justice has been served,” Masipa said.

Marius du Toit, a defense lawyer not involved in the case but following it closely, said a panel of three psychiatrists would provide the court with a report on Pistorius, and it may also deal with the issue of his fitness to stand trial at all.

Despite the defense team’s opposition to the psychiatric evaluation, Pistorius’ uncle, Arnold Pistorius, said outside the courthouse that the ruling reaffirmed the family’s confidence in the justice system.

“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,” Arnold Pistorius said in his prepared statement.

Imray reported from Stellenbosch, South Africa.

Pistorius to be sent for psychiatric tests

KDWN

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — Oscar Pistorius was ordered by a judge on Wednesday to undergo psychiatric tests, meaning that the double-amputee athlete’s murder trial will be interrupted, possibly for two months.

The decision by Judge Thokozile Masipa followed a request for a psychiatric evaluation by the chief prosecutor, Gerrie Nel. The prosecutor had said he had no option but to ask for it after an expert witness for the defense testified that Pistorius had an anxiety disorder since childhood that may have influenced his judgment when he fatally shot his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

Masipa said the court would reconvene on Tuesday to decide on details regarding Pistorius’ period of observation. The world-famous runner stood with his hands clasped in front of him in court as the judge explained her decision.

He could be acquitted if it’s found that he was not criminally responsible for Steenkamp’s shooting because of a mental illness. A mental disorder could also be used by his defense for a lighter sentence if he is convicted of killing Steenkamp. Legal analysts say the prosecution is in a strong position in the trial.

Pistorius will likely now be evaluated by a panel of psychiatrists for a period of 30 days at a government facility, although Masipa said it would be preferable that he be an outpatient and return home each day after tests. The Olympian is free on bail after being charged with premeditated murder for Steenkamp’s shooting death last year.

In a statement read on behalf of his family, Pistorius’ uncle, Arnold Pistorius, said the ruling reaffirmed their confidence in the South African justice system.

“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,” Arnold Pistorius said.

In sending Pistorius, 27, for evaluation by experts, Masipa said the court was “ill-equipped” to properly assess the diagnosis by psychiatrist Dr. Merryll Vorster. The judge said it was important to assess his state of mind because of questions raised by the prosecution that Pistorius might argue he was not criminally responsible for the shooting because of his anxiety disorder.

“The accused may not have raised the issue that he was not criminally responsible at the time of the incident in so many words, but evidence led on his behalf clearly raised the issue and cannot be ignored,” the judge said.

Pistorius says he shot Steenkamp by mistake in the pre-dawn hours of Feb. 14, 2013, thinking there was an intruder in his home. His defense has regularly pointed to his fear of violent crime as central to his case of a mistaken killing. Vorster, the psychiatrist testifying in Pistorius’ defense, said he had generalized anxiety disorder and was “hyper-vigilant” and constantly feared being attacked.

The prosecution says Pistorius killed Steenkamp intentionally after an argument and prosecutor Nel said he didn’t believe that an anxiety disorder played any role. But he said he had no option but to make the application on the basis of Vorster’s diagnosis. In asking for the evaluation, Nel also may be pre-empting any appeal by Pistorius’ defense, citing a psychiatric disorder, should he be convicted.

The chief prosecutor had previously referred to a period of 30 days for a psychiatric evaluation, the typical period for observation under South African law. Any panel of experts that assesses Pistorius would take additional time to compile a report and submit it to the court. Legal analysts say the psychiatrists’ report could take another month, raising the possibility of a two-month delay in the trial, which started March 3 and is in its eighth week of proceedings.

Masipa noted that having Pistorius evaluated as an outpatient would be preferable as the referral was not meant to punish him. She acknowledged that there would be a significant delay.

“This is not about anyone’s convenience, but rather about whether justice has been served,” Masipa said, adding that she would provide details about her decision in court on Tuesday.

Marius du Toit, a defense lawyer not involved in the case but following it closely, said a panel of three psychiatrists would provide the court with a report on Pistorius, and it may also deal with if he is fit to stand trial at all.

Imray reported from Stellenbosch, South Africa.

Pistorius to be sent for psychiatric tests

KDWN

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — Oscar Pistorius was ordered by a judge on Wednesday to undergo psychiatric tests, meaning that the double-amputee athlete’s murder trial will be interrupted, possibly for two months.

The decision by Judge Thokozile Masipa followed a request for a psychiatric evaluation by the chief prosecutor, Gerrie Nel. The prosecutor had said he had no option but to ask for it after an expert witness for the defense testified that Pistorius had an anxiety disorder since childhood that may have influenced his judgment when he fatally shot his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

Masipa said the court would reconvene on Tuesday to decide on details regarding Pistorius’ period of observation. The world-famous runner stood with his hands clasped in front of him in court as the judge explained her decision.

He could be acquitted if it’s found that he was not criminally responsible for Steenkamp’s shooting because of a mental illness. A mental disorder could also be used by his defense for a lighter sentence if he is convicted of killing Steenkamp. Legal analysts say the prosecution is in a strong position in the trial.

Pistorius will likely now be evaluated by a panel of psychiatrists for a period of 30 days at a government facility, although Masipa said it would be preferable that he be an outpatient and return home each day after tests. The Olympian is free on bail after being charged with premeditated murder for Steenkamp’s shooting death last year.

In a statement read on behalf of his family, Pistorius’ uncle, Arnold Pistorius, said the ruling reaffirmed their confidence in the South African justice system.

“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,” Arnold Pistorius said.

In sending Pistorius, 27, for evaluation by experts, Masipa said the court was “ill-equipped” to properly assess the diagnosis by psychiatrist Dr. Merryll Vorster. The judge said it was important to assess his state of mind because of questions raised by the prosecution that Pistorius might argue he was not criminally responsible for the shooting because of his anxiety disorder.

“The accused may not have raised the issue that he was not criminally responsible at the time of the incident in so many words, but evidence led on his behalf clearly raised the issue and cannot be ignored,” the judge said.

Pistorius says he shot Steenkamp by mistake in the pre-dawn hours of Feb. 14, 2013, thinking there was an intruder in his home. His defense has regularly pointed to his fear of violent crime as central to his case of a mistaken killing. Vorster, the psychiatrist testifying in Pistorius’ defense, said he had generalized anxiety disorder and was “hyper-vigilant” and constantly feared being attacked.

The prosecution says Pistorius killed Steenkamp intentionally after an argument and prosecutor Nel said he didn’t believe that an anxiety disorder played any role. But he said he had no option but to make the application on the basis of Vorster’s diagnosis. In asking for the evaluation, Nel also may be pre-empting any appeal by Pistorius’ defense, citing a psychiatric disorder, should he be convicted.

The chief prosecutor had previously referred to a period of 30 days for a psychiatric evaluation, the typical period for observation under South African law. Any panel of experts that assesses Pistorius would take additional time to compile a report and submit it to the court. Legal analysts say the psychiatrists’ report could take another month, raising the possibility of a two-month delay in the trial, which started March 3 and is in its eighth week of proceedings.

Masipa noted that having Pistorius evaluated as an outpatient would be preferable as the referral was not meant to punish him. She acknowledged that there would be a significant delay.

“This is not about anyone’s convenience, but rather about whether justice has been served,” Masipa said, adding that she would provide details about her decision in court on Tuesday.

Marius du Toit, a defense lawyer not involved in the case but following it closely, said a panel of three psychiatrists would provide the court with a report on Pistorius, and it may also deal with if he is fit to stand trial at all.

Imray reported from Stellenbosch, South Africa.

Pistorius to be sent for psychiatric tests

KDWN

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — Oscar Pistorius was ordered by a judge on Wednesday to undergo psychiatric tests, meaning that the double-amputee athlete’s murder trial will be interrupted, possibly for two months.

The decision by Judge Thokozile Masipa followed a request for a psychiatric evaluation by the chief prosecutor, Gerrie Nel. The prosecutor had said he had no option but to ask for it after an expert witness for the defense testified that Pistorius had an anxiety disorder since childhood that may have influenced his judgment when he fatally shot his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

Masipa said the court would reconvene on Tuesday to decide on details regarding Pistorius’ period of observation. The world-famous runner stood with his hands clasped in front of him in court as the judge explained her decision.

He could be acquitted if it’s found that he was not criminally responsible for Steenkamp’s shooting because of a mental illness. A mental disorder could also be used by his defense for a lighter sentence if he is convicted of killing Steenkamp. Legal analysts say the prosecution is in a strong position in the trial.

Pistorius will likely now be evaluated by a panel of psychiatrists for a period of 30 days at a government facility, although Masipa said it would be preferable that he be an outpatient and return home each day after tests. The Olympian is free on bail after being charged with premeditated murder for Steenkamp’s shooting death last year.

In a statement read on behalf of his family, Pistorius’ uncle, Arnold Pistorius, said the ruling reaffirmed their confidence in the South African justice system.

“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,” Arnold Pistorius said.

In sending Pistorius, 27, for evaluation by experts, Masipa said the court was “ill-equipped” to properly assess the diagnosis by psychiatrist Dr. Merryll Vorster. The judge said it was important to assess his state of mind because of questions raised by the prosecution that Pistorius might argue he was not criminally responsible for the shooting because of his anxiety disorder.

“The accused may not have raised the issue that he was not criminally responsible at the time of the incident in so many words, but evidence led on his behalf clearly raised the issue and cannot be ignored,” the judge said.

Pistorius says he shot Steenkamp by mistake in the pre-dawn hours of Feb. 14, 2013, thinking there was an intruder in his home. His defense has regularly pointed to his fear of violent crime as central to his case of a mistaken killing. Vorster, the psychiatrist testifying in Pistorius’ defense, said he had generalized anxiety disorder and was “hyper-vigilant” and constantly feared being attacked.

The prosecution says Pistorius killed Steenkamp intentionally after an argument and prosecutor Nel said he didn’t believe that an anxiety disorder played any role. But he said he had no option but to make the application on the basis of Vorster’s diagnosis. In asking for the evaluation, Nel also may be pre-empting any appeal by Pistorius’ defense, citing a psychiatric disorder, should he be convicted.

The chief prosecutor had previously referred to a period of 30 days for a psychiatric evaluation, the typical period for observation under South African law. Any panel of experts that assesses Pistorius would take additional time to compile a report and submit it to the court. Legal analysts say the psychiatrists’ report could take another month, raising the possibility of a two-month delay in the trial, which started March 3 and is in its eighth week of proceedings.

Masipa noted that having Pistorius evaluated as an outpatient would be preferable as the referral was not meant to punish him. She acknowledged that there would be a significant delay.

“This is not about anyone’s convenience, but rather about whether justice has been served,” Masipa said, adding that she would provide details about her decision in court on Tuesday.

Marius du Toit, a defense lawyer not involved in the case but following it closely, said a panel of three psychiatrists would provide the court with a report on Pistorius, and it may also deal with if he is fit to stand trial at all.

Imray reported from Stellenbosch, South Africa.

Pistorius to be sent for psychiatric tests

KDWN

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — Oscar Pistorius was ordered by a judge on Wednesday to undergo psychiatric tests, meaning that the double-amputee athlete’s murder trial will be interrupted, possibly for two months.

The decision by Judge Thokozile Masipa followed a request for a psychiatric evaluation by the chief prosecutor, Gerrie Nel. The prosecutor had said he had no option but to ask for it after an expert witness for the defense testified that Pistorius had an anxiety disorder since childhood that may have influenced his judgment when he fatally shot his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

Masipa said the court would reconvene on Tuesday to decide on details regarding Pistorius’ period of observation. The world-famous runner stood with his hands clasped in front of him in court as the judge explained her decision.

He could be acquitted if it’s found that he was not criminally responsible for Steenkamp’s shooting because of a mental illness. A mental disorder could also be used by his defense for a lighter sentence if he is convicted of killing Steenkamp. Legal analysts say the prosecution is in a strong position in the trial.

Pistorius will likely now be evaluated by a panel of psychiatrists for a period of 30 days at a government facility, although Masipa said it would be preferable that he be an outpatient and return home each day after tests. The Olympian is free on bail after being charged with premeditated murder for Steenkamp’s shooting death last year.

In a statement read on behalf of his family, Pistorius’ uncle, Arnold Pistorius, said the ruling reaffirmed their confidence in the South African justice system.

“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,” Arnold Pistorius said.

In sending Pistorius, 27, for evaluation by experts, Masipa said the court was “ill-equipped” to properly assess the diagnosis by psychiatrist Dr. Merryll Vorster. The judge said it was important to assess his state of mind because of questions raised by the prosecution that Pistorius might argue he was not criminally responsible for the shooting because of his anxiety disorder.

“The accused may not have raised the issue that he was not criminally responsible at the time of the incident in so many words, but evidence led on his behalf clearly raised the issue and cannot be ignored,” the judge said.

Pistorius says he shot Steenkamp by mistake in the pre-dawn hours of Feb. 14, 2013, thinking there was an intruder in his home. His defense has regularly pointed to his fear of violent crime as central to his case of a mistaken killing. Vorster, the psychiatrist testifying in Pistorius’ defense, said he had generalized anxiety disorder and was “hyper-vigilant” and constantly feared being attacked.

The prosecution says Pistorius killed Steenkamp intentionally after an argument and prosecutor Nel said he didn’t believe that an anxiety disorder played any role. But he said he had no option but to make the application on the basis of Vorster’s diagnosis. In asking for the evaluation, Nel also may be pre-empting any appeal by Pistorius’ defense, citing a psychiatric disorder, should he be convicted.

The chief prosecutor had previously referred to a period of 30 days for a psychiatric evaluation, the typical period for observation under South African law. Any panel of experts that assesses Pistorius would take additional time to compile a report and submit it to the court. Legal analysts say the psychiatrists’ report could take another month, raising the possibility of a two-month delay in the trial, which started March 3 and is in its eighth week of proceedings.

Masipa noted that having Pistorius evaluated as an outpatient would be preferable as the referral was not meant to punish him. She acknowledged that there would be a significant delay.

“This is not about anyone’s convenience, but rather about whether justice has been served,” Masipa said, adding that she would provide details about her decision in court on Tuesday.

Marius du Toit, a defense lawyer not involved in the case but following it closely, said a panel of three psychiatrists would provide the court with a report on Pistorius, and it may also deal with if he is fit to stand trial at all.

Imray reported from Stellenbosch, South Africa.

Pistorius to be sent for psychiatric tests

KDWN

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — Oscar Pistorius was ordered by a judge on Wednesday to undergo psychiatric tests, meaning that the double-amputee athlete’s murder trial will be interrupted, possibly for two months.

The decision by Judge Thokozile Masipa followed a request for a psychiatric evaluation by the chief prosecutor, Gerrie Nel. The prosecutor had said he had no option but to ask for it after an expert witness for the defense testified that Pistorius had an anxiety disorder since childhood that may have influenced his judgment when he fatally shot his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

Masipa said the court would reconvene on Tuesday to decide on details regarding Pistorius’ period of observation. The world-famous runner stood with his hands clasped in front of him in court as the judge explained her decision.

He could be acquitted if it’s found that he was not criminally responsible for Steenkamp’s shooting because of a mental illness. A mental disorder could also be used by his defense for a lighter sentence if he is convicted of killing Steenkamp. Legal analysts say the prosecution is in a strong position in the trial.

Pistorius will likely now be evaluated by a panel of psychiatrists for a period of 30 days at a government facility, although Masipa said it would be preferable that he be an outpatient and return home each day after tests. The Olympian is free on bail after being charged with premeditated murder for Steenkamp’s shooting death last year.

In a statement read on behalf of his family, Pistorius’ uncle, Arnold Pistorius, said the ruling reaffirmed their confidence in the South African justice system.

“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,” Arnold Pistorius said.

In sending Pistorius, 27, for evaluation by experts, Masipa said the court was “ill-equipped” to properly assess the diagnosis by psychiatrist Dr. Merryll Vorster. The judge said it was important to assess his state of mind because of questions raised by the prosecution that Pistorius might argue he was not criminally responsible for the shooting because of his anxiety disorder.

“The accused may not have raised the issue that he was not criminally responsible at the time of the incident in so many words, but evidence led on his behalf clearly raised the issue and cannot be ignored,” the judge said.

Pistorius says he shot Steenkamp by mistake in the pre-dawn hours of Feb. 14, 2013, thinking there was an intruder in his home. His defense has regularly pointed to his fear of violent crime as central to his case of a mistaken killing. Vorster, the psychiatrist testifying in Pistorius’ defense, said he had generalized anxiety disorder and was “hyper-vigilant” and constantly feared being attacked.

The prosecution says Pistorius killed Steenkamp intentionally after an argument and prosecutor Nel said he didn’t believe that an anxiety disorder played any role. But he said he had no option but to make the application on the basis of Vorster’s diagnosis. In asking for the evaluation, Nel also may be pre-empting any appeal by Pistorius’ defense, citing a psychiatric disorder, should he be convicted.

The chief prosecutor had previously referred to a period of 30 days for a psychiatric evaluation, the typical period for observation under South African law. Any panel of experts that assesses Pistorius would take additional time to compile a report and submit it to the court. Legal analysts say the psychiatrists’ report could take another month, raising the possibility of a two-month delay in the trial, which started March 3 and is in its eighth week of proceedings.

Masipa noted that having Pistorius evaluated as an outpatient would be preferable as the referral was not meant to punish him. She acknowledged that there would be a significant delay.

“This is not about anyone’s convenience, but rather about whether justice has been served,” Masipa said, adding that she would provide details about her decision in court on Tuesday.

Marius du Toit, a defense lawyer not involved in the case but following it closely, said a panel of three psychiatrists would provide the court with a report on Pistorius, and it may also deal with if he is fit to stand trial at all.

Imray reported from Stellenbosch, South Africa.

Pistorius to be sent for psychiatric tests

KDWN

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — Oscar Pistorius was ordered by a judge on Wednesday to undergo psychiatric tests, meaning that the double-amputee athlete’s murder trial will be interrupted, possibly for two months

The decision by Judge Thokozile Masipa followed a request for a psychiatric evaluation by the chief prosecutor, Gerrie Nel. The prosecutor had said he had no option but to ask for it after an expert witness for the defense testified that Pistorius had an anxiety disorder since childhood that may have influenced his judgment when he fatally shot his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

Masipa said the court would reconvene on Tuesday to decide on details regarding Pistorius’ period of observation. The world-famous runner stood with his hands clasped in front of him in court as the judge explained her decision.

He could be acquitted if it’s found that he was not criminally responsible for Steenkamp’s shooting because of a mental illness. A mental disorder could also be used by his defense for a lighter sentence if he is convicted of killing Steenkamp. Legal analysts say the prosecution is in a strong position in the trial.

Pistorius will likely now be evaluated by a panel of psychiatrists for a period of 30 days at a government facility, although Masipa said it would be preferable that he be an outpatient and return home each day after tests. The Olympian is free on bail after being charged with premeditated murder for Steenkamp’s shooting death last year.

In a statement read on behalf of his family, Pistorius’ uncle, Arnold Pistorius, said the ruling reaffirmed their confidence in the South African justice system.

“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,” Arnold Pistorius said.

In sending Pistorius, 27, for evaluation by experts, Masipa said the court was “ill-equipped” to properly assess the diagnosis by psychiatrist Dr. Merryll Vorster. The judge said it was important to assess his state of mind because of questions raised by the prosecution that Pistorius might argue he was not criminally responsible for the shooting because of his anxiety disorder.

“The accused may not have raised the issue that he was not criminally responsible at the time of the incident in so many words, but evidence led on his behalf clearly raised the issue and cannot be ignored,” the judge said.

Pistorius says he shot Steenkamp by mistake in the pre-dawn hours of Feb. 14, 2013, thinking there was an intruder in his home. His defense has regularly pointed to his fear of violent crime as central to his case of a mistaken killing. Vorster, the psychiatrist testifying in Pistorius’ defense, said he had generalized anxiety disorder and was “hyper-vigilant” and constantly feared being attacked.

The prosecution says Pistorius killed Steenkamp intentionally after an argument and prosecutor Nel said he didn’t believe that an anxiety disorder played any role. But he said he had no option but to make the application on the basis of Vorster’s diagnosis. In asking for the evaluation, Nel also may be pre-empting any appeal by Pistorius’ defense, citing a psychiatric disorder, should he be convicted.

The chief prosecutor had previously referred to a period of 30 days for a psychiatric evaluation, the typical period for observation under South African law. Any panel of experts that assesses Pistorius would take additional time to compile a report and submit it to the court. Legal analysts say the psychiatrists’ report could take another month, raising the possibility of a two-month delay in the trial, which started March 3 and is in its eighth week of proceedings.

Masipa noted that having Pistorius evaluated as an outpatient would be preferable as the referral was not meant to punish him. She acknowledged that there would be a significant delay.

“This is not about anyone’s convenience, but rather about whether justice has been served,” Masipa said, adding that she would provide details about her decision in court on Tuesday.

Marius du Toit, a defense lawyer not involved in the case but following it closely, said a panel of three psychiatrists would provide the court with a report on Pistorius, and it may also deal with if he is fit to stand trial at all.

Imray reported from Stellenbosch, South Africa.