Oscar Pistorius trial: Day 30 review

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Football News

The murder trial of South African athlete Oscar Pistorius continued today, with the possibility of the accused being submitted for a closer look at his psychological well-being raised by the prosecution.

Defence witness Dr Merryl Vorster took the stand on day 30 in Pretoria, with the forensic psychiatrist speaking at length about Mr Pistorius' state of mind and revealing that the Paralympic sprinter suffered from an anxiety disorder.

As well as discussing his feeling about his parents, Sky news report how Dr Vorster also spoke of double-leg amputee Mr Pistorius' attempts to hide his disability as his fame grew.

Perhaps most crucially, the runner's 'fight or flight' response was discussed, with the witness appearing to believe that Mr Pistorius - who stands accused of the pre-meditated murder of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp as well as the illegal possession of ammunition and two further counts of firing a weapon in public, all of which he denies - was more likely to attempt to stand up to threatening or intimidating situations due to the impact of his disability.

Dr Vorster further suggested that Mr Pistorius often woken up during the night fearing that he had heard noises, with his anxiety perhaps leading him to needlessly view certain surroundings and situations as threatening.

When asked by chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel during cross-examination if someone suffering from such a disorder could be deemed as a danger with guns, Dr Vorster conceded that they would.

When proceedings re-convene on Tuesday, Judge Thokozile Masipa must decide whether to grant a request to have Mr Pistorius' mental health subject to further investigation.

The defence are expected to oppose the application, with the possibility that it could delay the trial and require Mr Pistorius to report for a lengthy evaluation at a mental hospital.

If eventually found guilty of murder, Mr Pistorius could face a term of life imprisonment. South Africa does not have a jury system, so his fate will ultimately be decided by Judge Masipa, who will seek guidance from two assessors.

The trial continues.

Oscar Pistorius

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