South African judge orders Oscar Pistorius to undergo psychiatric tests

Olympic and Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius (L) arrives ahead of his trial for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, May 13, 2014.
The judge in Oscar Pistorius\’ murder trial ordered the athlete on Wednesday to undergo a psychiatric evaluation after a witness testified the Olympian suffered from an anxiety disorder, potentially delaying the trial by a month.
Judge Thokozile Masipa announced her ruling Wednesday, following testimony this week from a defense witness who said Pistorius had an anxiety disorder that causes fear and worry.
"The effect of the evidence is that a doubt has been created that the accused may possibly have another defense relating to his criminal responsibility.  There is also a possibility that there may be diminished criminal responsibility," she said.
Prosecutor Gerrie Nel requested the tests.  He said he does not want Pistorius to use such a condition as the basis for a possible appeal later on.
The judge said Wednesday the tests are to make sure Pistorius gets a fair trial, and that he may be evaluated on an outpatient basis.  She will give the full details of the order when the court reconvenes next Tuesday.
Pistorius said he thought he was shooting at a nighttime intruder when he killed Reeva Steenkamp.  Prosecutors say he intentionally shot her through the closed bathroom door after a heated argument.
If convicted, he could face life in prison.
Pistorius is known as the "blade runner" for his carbon-fiber prosthetic legs.  In 2012, he became the first double amputee to compete in the Olympics.
Source: Agencies
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