TIME South Africa

Oscar Pistorius Ordered to Undergo Psych Evaluation

South African courts aim to settle the issue of Pistorius' mental health.

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The trial of South African Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp took an unexpected turn this week when a judge ordered him to undergo mental evaluations to determine whether he suffers from generalized anxiety disorder.

Defense witness Dr. Meryl Vorster explained that Pistorius’ anxiety disorder is what forced him to respond to the perceived threat in “fight-mode” versus “flight-mode.” That claim led the prosecutor to request a psychological evaluation, which judge Thokozile Masipa agreed to allow.

It’s unclear whether the evaluation will help or hurt Pistorius’ as he attempts to convince the judge that he killed Steenkamp by accident because he mistook her for an intruder. What is certain is that the tests will delay the trial to allow time for both the evaluation and the report.

Pistorius’ double-murder trial started on March 3.

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