World

Oscar Pistorius Deemed Mentally Sound At Time Of Shooting

The trial for Oscar Pistorius has resumed after a month-long mental evaluation. He was not mentally ill at the time of shooting Reeva Steenkamp.

Oscar Pistorius Deemed Mentally Sound At Time Of Shooting
The Telegraph

The Oscar Pistorius murder trial is back on.  (Via Flickr / Jim Thurston)

It had been on hold so the Olympic sprinter's mental health could be evaluated. That assessment found Pistorius was not mentally ill at the time of the shooting of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. 

And the fact the prosecution requested the evaluation comes as a little strange to a CNN analyst.

"It's highly usual for it to happen as a result of an application on behalf of the state, of the prosecutor, because essentially this is an inquiry as to whether he has the defense of insanity of incapacity." (Via CNN)

Thing is — Pistorius so far isn't going for an insanity defense. But what the prosecution could get out of this is undermining a witness for the defense. 

You might remember the testimony of a forensic psychiatrist back in May: (Via NBC)

DR. MERRYLL VORSTER: "He was aware that he was a public figure and believed that this made him at an increased risk of being attacked or burgled."

In other words — the testimony was that Pistorius had some sort of anxiety disorder. So, what all this means is the trial will proceed and 27-year-old Pistorius does not have the option to use mental health as a defense or mitigating factor. 

The Telegraph reports both legal teams — the defense and the prosecution — have accepted the mental health report. It also notes the "condition which could lessen criminal responsibility [was] ruled out."

The prosecution believes Pistorius murdered his 29-year-old girlfriend in a "jealous rage." Pistorius has maintained he shot her by mistake in February 2013, thinking there was an intruder in his home.

The New York Times calls the mental assessment's results ​"​critical since defendants deemed unable to distinguish between right and wrong can be committed indefinitely to state mental institutions..."

If convicted without mitigating factors such as mental health, Pistorius faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years in prison.