That’s what Gerrie Nel suggested in the Oscar Pistorius murder trial today, following testimony by an expert witness who claims that he (Pistorius) suffers from a specific anxiety disorder.
This, from ENCA:
The generalised anxiety disorder Oscar Pistorius suffers from may have impacted his actions on the night he shot Reeva Steenkamp, and the court could consider sending him for mental observation.
Forensic psychiatrist Dr Merryll Vorster, the defence team’s expert testifying about Pistorius’s mental state, has told the court she has diagnosed him with anxiety disorder.
Vorster testified that as Pistorius grew more successful in his athletic career, it would have been increasingly stressful to maintain his professionalism and put up a good appearance.
Increased anxiety would mean he would perceive his environment to be threatening, even if it wasn’t.
Obviously Gerrie Nel bit quite hard at this new angle thrown in by the defence.
Prosecutor Gerrie Nel began his cross-examination by asking if the anxiety disorder she had diagnosed had any impact on Pistorius’s actions on the night of the shooting, or if it had in any way impaired his understanding of right and wrong.
She said the disorder would not have effected Pistorius in this way.
“Are you saying Mr Pistorius had diminished responsibility?” Nel asked.
Vorster said she was asking the court to take into account that Pistorius’s anxiety should be taken into account and that her anxiety disorder diagnosis did not constitute a mental illness, as it was a relatively common affliction.
“I am saying his reaction to situations would be different … not that of a normal, able-bodied person’s reactions if they did not have the disorder,” Dr Vorster said.
Nel asked her if Pistorius should immediately be sent to Sterkfontein Hospital for mental observation.
Vorster said generalised anxiety disorder was a psychiatric diagnosis and not an illness, and her understanding was that it did not result in delusions or diminished capacity. It was a common disorder, effecting social and generalised function.
“But you linked this disorder to the incident. So the court has no option but to refer…” Nel said, suggesting that Pistorius be sent for mental observation.
Vorster said anxiety disorder was relevant to the facts of the case.
This obviously adds a massive twist to the trial, and one wonders what might happen, should Pistorius be sent for mental observation.
What happens if they find his mental issue is even worse than a simple disorder. eg. what if it is proven they he couldn’t foresee the impact of his actions?
Tune in tomorrow HERE to find out what happens next.
CLICK HERE for all our past Oscar Pistorius coverage.
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