Tuesday 27 September 2016

Psychologist deems Oscar Pistorius unfit for testifying at sentencing hearing for Reeva Steenkamp murder

Published 13/06/2016 | 09:23

Former Paralympian Oscar Pistorius arrives to be sentenced for murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at the Pretoria High Court, South Africa June 13,2016.
Former Paralympian Oscar Pistorius arrives to be sentenced for murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at the Pretoria High Court, South Africa June 13,2016.
Former Paralympian Oscar Pistorius arrives to be sentenced for murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at the Pretoria High Court
Barry Steenkamp (L), father of Reeva Steenkamp, arrives with his wife June Steenkamp for the sentencing of former Paralympian Oscar Pistorius at the Pretoria High Court
Reeva Steenkamp and Oscar Pistorius
South African Olympic and Paralympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius leaves the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, South Africa, October 15, 2014

Oscar Pistorius' sentencing hearing for the murder of Reeva Steenkamp begins today.

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A psychologist who monitored him has determined that Pistorius has high levels of paranoia and now suffers from depression and has been deemed unfit to speak at the hearing.

The former paralympian killed his girlfriend in 2013 after shooting four times through a locked bathroom door and he has always maintained he was shooting an intruder.

Pistorius served one year in prison and was released in October 2015 under house arrest.

Former Paralympian Oscar Pistorius arrives to be sentenced for murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at the Pretoria High Court
Former Paralympian Oscar Pistorius arrives to be sentenced for murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at the Pretoria High Court

He was originally convicted of manslaughter, but the conviction was upgraded to murder in December on appeal.

The Supreme Court of Appeal ruled that regardless of who he believed to be behind the door, he should have had the foresight to know he would kill that person.

He was expected to speak on his own behalf, but his psychologist, who evaluated him over the course of eight hours, said he is not mentally capable.

"I don’t think he is able to be a witness in this trial: his condition is severe.

Reeva Steenkamp and Oscar Pistorius
Reeva Steenkamp and Oscar Pistorius

"Mr Pistorius suffers from serious symptoms of depression … Mr Pistorius does not have the personality characteristics usually associated with antisocial personality disorder or psychopathy," Dr Jonathan Scholtz told court today.

"[He has] a distrustful disposition, which explains his paranoia as he feels he is always being watched by the media."

Pistorius' lawyers will appear before the original trial judge Thokozile Masipa to appeal against the minimum 15 year sentence for a murder conviction.

A verdict is expected to be delivered as early as Wednesday, but the hearing could last as long as Friday.

Barry Steenkamp (L), father of Reeva Steenkamp, arrives with his wife June Steenkamp for the sentencing of former Paralympian Oscar Pistorius at the Pretoria High Court
Barry Steenkamp (L), father of Reeva Steenkamp, arrives with his wife June Steenkamp for the sentencing of former Paralympian Oscar Pistorius at the Pretoria High Court

This week will see a number of witness from the prosecution and defence take the stand, with suggestions that Pistorius might take the stand for the first time in his three year legal battle.

Reeva's father Barry is also believed to be testifying as he was prevented from speaking during the 2014 trial due to bad health.

Mr Steenkamp is expected to take to the witness box as the "final ace" up the prosecution's sleeve in its bid to have the sprinter held to account.

"He decided he had to say thank you to all the people that supported him b

After sentencing, he could return directly to prison and not to his uncle's mansion, where he has been under house arrest for the last nine months.

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