Prosecutors in the trial of Oscar Pistorius have submitted a formal request for the former Paralympic sprinter to undergo a mental evaluation.
Lawyers said this is to prevent him, if convicted for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, from appealing against the verdict on the basis of a disturbed mental condition, which the defence has recently raised as an issue.
“It’s an inescapable fact that the defence elected to call Dr. Merryll Vorster at this late stage. There has been no indication before Dr. Vorster gave evidence of any psychiatric condition that may have affected the accused,” explained prosecutor Gerrie Nel.
Vorster, a defence witness, testified Pistorius had an “anxiety disorder” which may have played a role in his fatal shooting of Steenkamp. The prosecution claims it is a change of tactics as they believe the trial is not going well for the defence.
The judge adjourned the trial and will rule on the prosecution request on Wednesday. If granted, it may delay proceedings.