A heavy blow was dealt to the defense in the Oscar Pistorius murder trial.
According to the findings of a panel made up of one psychologist and three psychiatrists, the 27-year-old athlete likely wasn’t suffering from a mental disorder when he killed Steenkamp.
This report was released today following a month-long evaluation at the Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital in Pretoria, South Africa.
Pistorius admitted to fatally shooting his 29-year-old girlfriend in the early hours of February 14th, 2013. However, he claims that it was a case of mistaken identity.
Allegedly, Pistorius felt his life to be in danger as he believed an intruder had broken into his home. Steenkamp was killed, in his words, because he mistook her for the intruder in his panic.
— CNN Wire (@CNNWire) June 30, 2014
“At the time of the alleged offences,” writes the panel that examined the defendant, “the accused did not suffer from a mental disorder or mental defect that affected his ability to distinguish between the rightful or wrongful nature of his deeds.”
In other words, even if Pistorius was anxious or upset he still possessed the mental capacity to make responsible decisions...or to knowingly commit to irresponsible decision-making.
Both chief Prosecutor Gerrie Nel and Pistorius’s defense team accepted the findings of the panel of experts, though it’s uncertain how both sides will use this information going forward.
— Watch CTV News (@WatchCTVNews) June 30, 2014
If the defense was going to reframe the case around Pistorius’s fragile mental state, they are most definitely going to have to rethink that strategy.
It’s possible they may choose to emphasize Pistorius’s disability and his increased vulnerability when he is without his prosthetics.
The prosecution will likely use the finding to show that Pistorius was clearly in his right mind during the shooting and chose to act in an irresponsible manner.
The case against the star athlete is winding down, and a decision will likely be handed down in the next few weeks.
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