News World Broken, sad Pistorius should be spared jail: psych

Broken, sad Pistorius should be spared jail: psych

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Oscar Pistorius is a “broken” man who should not be jailed for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, a psychologist has told a court in South Africa, while a prosecutor said he has shown no remorse.

The 29-year-old Paralympic gold medallist, known as “Blade Runner” for the carbon-fibre prosthetics he wore when racing, faces a minimum 15-year jail term after his manslaughter conviction for the 2013 killing was upgraded on appeal.

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Jonathan Scholtz, a psychologist called by Pistorius’s lawyer Barry Roux, told the sentencing hearing on Monday that the athlete, who attended in a dark suit and at times sat with his head in his hands, was on medication for depression, anxiety and insomnia.

Oscar Pistorius is reportedly depressed and suffering anxiety. Photo: AAP.
Oscar Pistorius is reportedly depressed and suffering anxiety. Photo: AAP.

“One would describe him as broken. In my opinion his current condition warrants hospitalisation,” Scholtz said, noting that Pistorius was not in the right frame of mind to testify.

“Since 2013, he becomes traumatised when he hears the sound of gunfire,” Scholtz said.

“He never wants to touch a firearm again.”

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel questioned Scholtz’s assertion that Pistorius was not fit to testify, saying he had given a TV interview.

The hour-long interview with Britain’s ITV is due to air on June 24.

Nel told the court Pistorius had shown no remorse for the murder, and that he only “feels sorry for himself”.

Pistorius had had temper tantrums in jail and had once banged a table when he got upset with a nurse, Nel said, asking Scholtz why he ignored Pistorius’s actions.

Scholtz said Pistorius may have acted violently as he was still adapting to prison and affected by medication.

“Why would you select only positive views for your report. I find that in your report you are biased towards the accused,” Nel said, shortly before the court adjourned for the day.

Pistorius’s lawyer Roux declined to comment on the day’s proceedings, as did Steenkamp’s family.

Scholtz said Pistorius had been assaulted once in jail, but Nel rejected this, saying the complaint register in which Pistorius often raised issues had no report of such an incident.

Nel also disputed a claim by the psychologist that Pistorius was traumatised after he saw a prisoner who had hanged himself, saying it was unlikely that he could have seen the victim.

Pistorius was at first given a five-year sentence for culpable homicide, South Africa’s equivalent of manslaughter, for shooting Steenkamp through a locked toilet door in his Pretoria home on February 14 three years ago.

He had argued he mistook her for an intruder.

The conviction was later upgraded to murder after an appeal heard by the Supreme Court.

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