5:07 pm - Tuesday September 25, 2018

Oscar Pistorius trial: Blade runner not mentally ill during Reeva Steenkamp’s shooting, experts conclude

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South African track star Oscar Pistorius was not suffering from a mental condition that would have impaired his ability to distinguish between right and wrong when he shot dead his girlfriend, a psychiatric report has found.

The Olympic and Paralympic sprinter has admitted to shooting model Reeva Steenkamp, but maintains he mistook her for an intruder hiding in his toilet in an upmarket Pretoria suburb.

The trial, which began in March, took a month-long break to allow the 27-year-old to undergo a mental evaluation after a forensic psychologist brought by the defence testified that Pistorius had an anxiety disorder.

Judge Thokozile Masipa said it was important to find out whether or not the condition affected his criminal responsibility.

“At the time of the alleged offences, 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,” prosecutor Gerrie Nel read from a report submitted to the court.

Both Mr Nel and defence lawyer Barry Roux accepted the findings of a panel of psychiatrists and psychologists after 30 days of evaluation.

Pistorius’s defence team has now resumed putting forward its version of events.

There are only a few witnesses left to give evidence, so the trial should finish this week, when judge Thokozile Masipa will retire to consider a verdict.

During the trial, prosecutors have tried to paint a picture of a self-obsessed Pistorius who knowingly killed his law graduate girlfriend as she cowered behind a locked bathroom door.

Pistorius has denied he killed Steenkamp in cold blood, saying he shot four times at the toilet door to protect himself from what he thought was an intruder.

If convicted the 27-year-old faces life in prison.

Pistorius competed against able-bodied sprinters at the London Olympics, on carbon-fibre prosthetics, becoming one of the most recognised names in athletics.

He won a clutch of Paralympic medals and reached the semi-finals of the 400m at the London Games.

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