Skip to main content

Judge lays down rules for Oscar Pistorius psychiatric tests

By Holly Yan and Robyn Curnow, CNN
updated 7:57 AM EDT, Tue May 20, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Pistorius will undergo mental health observations over the next month
  • He will be tested on an outpatient basis and can go home each day
  • The evaluations push the trial back until June 30

Pretoria, South Africa (CNN) -- Oscar Pistorius must report for a month-long mental examination starting next Monday, the judge in his murder trial said Tuesday.

But unlike many defendants who have been ordered to psychiatric evaluation, the Olympian will not be committed to a medical facility. Judge Thokozile Masipa said Pistorius must report each weekday starting Monday, but will have evenings and weekends free.

The trial will not resume until June 30, Masipa said.

The testing was triggered by the testimony of a psychiatrist who said that the sprinter has suffered from generalized anxiety disorder since he was an infant, stemming partly from the amputation of both of his lower legs because of a genetic defect.

Oscar Pistorius reaches out to his uncle Arnold Pistorius and other family members as he is led out of court in Pretoria, South Africa, after being sentenced to five years in prison on Tuesday, October 21. Pistorius, the first double-amputee runner to compete in the Olympics, was sentenced for culpable homicide in the February 2013 death of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. Oscar Pistorius reaches out to his uncle Arnold Pistorius and other family members as he is led out of court in Pretoria, South Africa, after being sentenced to five years in prison on Tuesday, October 21. Pistorius, the first double-amputee runner to compete in the Olympics, was sentenced for culpable homicide in the February 2013 death of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.
Oscar Pistorius trial
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
>
>>
Photos: Oscar Pistorius trial Photos: Oscar Pistorius trial
Pistorius will undergo mental exams
New twist in Pistorius case

Pistorius, 27, is accused of murdering his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp, in his home last year.

Pistorius has not claimed he was insane or mentally incapacitated when he shot her. But when the defense put a psychiatrist on the stand, it raised the question of the athlete's mental health, the judge said last week.

The expert panel evaluating Pistorius has three options:

1) They could find that Pistorius was mentally incapacitated when he shot Steenkamp, which would end the trial immediately in a verdict of not guilty by reason of mental illness. That would lead to the athlete being committed to a mental institution until he is ruled not to be a danger.

2) The doctors could also find that he had "diminished responsibility" at the time he killed Steenkamp. In that case, the trial would resume, and the experts' finding would be taken into consideration during sentencing if he is found guilty.

3) The third possibility is that the experts could disagree with the defense psychiatrist and say that Pistorius' mental health is not an issue at all.

READ: Is Oscar Pistorius crazy? State wants tests

READ: Oscar Pistorius was 'praying, crying, torn apart' after shooting, witness says

READ: Oscar Pistorius grilled by prosecutor: 'You shot and killed her. Say it'

CNN legal analyst Kelly Phelps and CNN's Richard Allen Greene contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Oscar Pistorius
updated 5:17 PM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
A stuffy, overcrowded cell. Perhaps two or three men to a single bunk. Lockdown for most of the day.
updated 5:39 AM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
He was the so-called "Fastest Man on No Legs," and his inspiring story captured the imagination of the world at the London Olympics.
updated 12:23 AM EDT, Sat September 13, 2014
The striking, platinum-haired model was gearing up for her reality television debut.
updated 8:51 AM EDT, Mon October 13, 2014
Her name is Thokozile Matilda Masipa, and she is the woman who decided the fate of athlete Oscar Pistorius.
updated 1:45 PM EDT, Mon June 3, 2013
Reeva Steenkamp on the beach in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
Previously unseen photographs of Reeva Steenkamp show the South African beauty just months before her tragic death.
updated 12:08 PM EST, Sun February 16, 2014
The photos of Oscar Pistorius and girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp appear to show a young couple in love.
updated 11:07 AM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
A week before her death, South African model Reeva Steenkamp talked about her secure, blissful environment.
updated 4:13 AM EST, Mon March 3, 2014
He was the first amputee to compete at an able-bodied Olympics. Now, he's being accused of murdering his girlfriend.
updated 4:31 AM EDT, Fri September 12, 2014
Judge Masipa has Oscar Pistorius stand up as she reads her verdicts.
updated 11:18 AM EDT, Thu September 11, 2014
CNN's Robyn Curnow looks back at some of the key moments in the trial.
updated 5:07 AM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
CNN's Robyn Curnow reflects on her visit to athlete Oscar Pistorius' home, before he was on trial for murder.
updated 3:44 AM EDT, Mon June 30, 2014
Take a virtual tour of the athlete's apartment to see what happened.
updated 5:26 AM EDT, Mon April 14, 2014
Prosecutor Gerrie Nel is known as the "bull dog" in South Africa's legal circles, and it's easy to see why.
updated 7:56 AM EDT, Thu April 10, 2014
As the athlete is grilled in court, Becky Anderson asks psychologist Dr. James Thompson about his state of mind.
ADVERTISEMENT