The Oscar Pistorius trial recently returned from a 17-day hiatus, because of the Easter holiday. Now, the trail could be delayed for an even longer period of time.
The prosecution has suggested that the Olympian undergo an independent psychiatric evaluation. The motion was filed by prosecutor Gerrie Nel, after a psychiatrist testified that she diagnosed Pistorius with a mental disorder. On Wednesday, Judge Thokozile Masipa will announce her decision. If she decides that the double-amputee should undergo further testing, the trial could be delayed for months. The testing itself takes 30 days, and Pistorius would have to wait for it to be scheduled.
According to Dr. Merryll Vorster, Pistorius has general anxiety disorder, and the illness affected him on the night that he killed girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. Vorster testified that a person in the 27-year-old’s condition should not own a gun.
The defense has argued against more testing for Pistorius. Defense lawyer Barry Roux has asked for the trial to continue. He’s defending Pistorius, who claims he thought he was firing at an intruder when he killed his girlfriend. Steenkamp was in the bathroom, and Pistorius contends that he thought she was in bed.
Vorster’s diagnosis could play a role in the final verdict. Her testimony indicated to the court that Pistorius might not be completely responsible for Steenkamp’s death. By Nel requesting more testing, he’s likely hoping to prove that the accused’s anxiety doesn’t make him less culpable for his actions.
The psychiatrist explained how Pistorius’s anxiety dates back to his childhood. The amputation of his legs was described as “traumatic” and his upbringing forced him to be threatened by his “external environment.”
Before Nel asked for more testing, it appeared that the trial would be wrapping up. Now, it could be extended into the latter part of 2014.