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Oscar Pistorius ordered to undergo psychiatric evaluation

Pretoria, May 15 (): A South African judge presiding over the murder trial of the South African double-amputee athlete Oscar Pistorius has ordered him to go through psychiatric assessment which means the trial proceedings will be delayed.

Trial judge Thokozile Masipa said the athlete should undergo mental observation after a psychiatrist stated that Oscar Pistorius has general anxiety disorder. So, the trial of Oscar Pistorius has been put on hold.

The chief prosecutor, Gerrie Nel told the court earlier this week that the 27-year-old sprinter was suffering from an anxiety disorder. The prosecutor argued that he wanted to prevent the athlete, who faces life in prison if condemned of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp’s murder, from later appealing on the base of a troubled mental condition.

Barry Roux, defence lawyer had contended against the proceedings, saying it was “premature” to have the assessment done now, as he planned to call other witnesses. However, judge Masipa said that a psychiatric assessment would ensure Pistorius gets a fair trial.

Oscar Pistorius is charged with murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. The athelete said he killed his girlfriend by mistake on February 14, 2013, thinking that an intruder had entered his home.

The state says he shot her girlfriend during an argument. The judge said there had been claims during the trial that Pistorius was not illegally accountable at the time of shooting and that could not be disregarded.

Masipa said there was no proper facilities in the court to evaluate the analysis by Dr. Merryll Vorster, and so, it is necessary to send Pistorius for a period of assessment. She said it was essential to evaluate the state of mind of the Olympic runner as of questions raised by the prosecution that Pistorius might argue he was not criminally responsible because of his anxiety disorder.

If the condition of Pistorius is assessed to have played a role in the fatal shooting of Reeva Steenkamp, then he may escape a murder charge.