News

South African court sends Pistorius to 30-day mental eval

South African court sends Pistorius to 30-day mental eval

ON TRIAL: A judge ordered Pistorius to report to Pretoria's Weskoppies hospital, one of South Africa's top mental institutions, as an outpatient for up to 30 days, starting on May 26. Photo: Reuters

PRETORIA (Reuters) – South African Olympic and Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius was ordered on Tuesday to undergo a month of psychiatric tests to find out whether he was criminally responsible when he shot dead his girlfriend on Valentine’s Day last year.

Judge Thokozile Masipa told Pistorius he must report to Pretoria’s Weskoppies hospital, one of South Africa’s top mental institutions, as an outpatient for up to 30 days, starting on May 26.

The evaluation would determine “whether the accused by reason of mental illness or mental defect was at the time of the commission of the offence criminally responsible for the offence he is charged and whether he was capable of appreciating the wrongfulness of his act”.

Pistorius, dressed in a black suit and tie, stood somberly in the dock as Masipa read out the order before postponing the case to June 30.

The Olympic star could face a life sentence if he is found guilty of murdering his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, who he shot and killed at his high security home in Pretoria on Feb. 14 last year.

Pistorius denies killing Steenkamp in cold blood after an argument, as suggested by prosecutors, and insists he shot four times at the toilet door she was behind, in self defense against what he thought was an intruder.

Pistorius competed against able-bodied sprinters on carbon-fiber prosthetics, becoming one of the most recognized names in athletics. He won a clutch of Paralympic medals and reached the semi-finals of the 400m at the London 2012 Olympics.

(Reporting by Nomatter Ndebele; Editing by Stella Mapenzauswa)

Recent Headlines

in Local

New Illinois Schools Chief Says Funding Fix Could Take Years

Tony Smith

Smith also says charter schools should be part of the mix.

in Local

Debate in General Assembly over Civics Class Requirement

Illinois General Assembly

Bill also passed to use e-learning in Illinois schools during inclement weather.

in Local

Autism Programs Hopeful Lawmakers Will Come to Their Rescue

autism

Providers say some programs may not survive if funding is not restored.

in Local

DeWitt Co. Settlement OK’d in Dispute to Put Toxic Waste Over Aquifer

water

DeWitt county has approved a settlement with a landfill company.

in Local

Kankakee Co. Sheriff Describes Security Lapses that led to Inmate Escape

inmate_exiting_kamron_taylor

Sheriff Tim Bukowski says investigators found no inmate count had been done.