‘Pistorius a danger with a firearm’

The athlete’s mental well-being came under the spotlight in the North Gauteng High Court.

Oscar Pistorius leaves the High Court in Pretoria after his murder trial on 12 May 2014. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

PRETORIA - Murder accused Oscar Pistorius's mental well-being came under the spotlight in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.

The state on Monday announced its intention to apply to have the athlete referred for mental observation.

A forensic psychiatrist has testified Pistorius suffers from general anxiety disorder.

The 27-year-old Paralympic and Olympic athlete is accused of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at his upmarket Pretoria East home on Valentine's Day last year.

The 'Blade Runner' says he shot the model by accident, while the state maintains it is a case of premeditated murder.

The court on Monday heard Pistorius has an anxiety disorder and should be considered dangerous if he is in possession of a firearm.

Psychiatrist Merryl Vorster took to the stand today to testify on behalf of the defence in terms of the athlete's mental state at the time of the deadly shooting.

The case took a dramatic turn when the state indicated that it will bring forward an application to have Pistorius undergo mental observation.

Nel argued on his interpretation of the law, Pistorius should be referred for a 30-day evaluation because he's been diagnosed with a mental disorder.

But defence advocate Barry Roux argues the law specifies that there has to be a mental diagnosis and a finding that the accused did not appreciate wrongfulness.

Vorster testified to assist the court with psychiatric matters related to conviction.

As such, Nel said this meant the mental state of the accused would have had a bearing on his conduct when he pulled the trigger.

Roux explained why he believes he still deserves more time with the witness.

"If the factual finding is that he was delusional, then we come to a disorder and that is the inability or incapacity to understand. If however the facts were different, we should not hear the application without giving us the opportunity to do a reexamination."

He will conclude his re-examination of the witness before Nel launches his application tomorrow.

'PISTORIUS HAS ANXIETY DISORDER'

Vorster said Pistorius's physical vulnerability and his anxiety disorder may have played a role in the way he reacted on Valentine's Day last year.

She said with his condition, he would move towards danger instead of fleeing because he isn't as mobile when on his stumps.

Nel also asked about his disorder and whether he should've been handling a firearm.

The prosecutor believes the athlete should be sent for mental observation while Vorster said despite his condition, he would've been able to distinguish between right and wrong.

Vorster interviewed Pistorius's family, friends and looked at medical reports from his childhood.

Vorster also said his mother displayed symptoms of anxiety and slept with a gun under her pillow, which had an impact on her children.

WOLMARANS CROSS-EXAMINATION ENDS

Earlier on Monday, Nel wrapped up his cross-examination of the defence's ballistics expert Wollie Wolmarans.

Wolmarans had been on the stand since Thursday, detailing the sequence of bullets fired by Pistorius and Steenkamp's position behind the bathroom door.

Nel spent the morning repeating questions and returning to the same issues he addressed on Friday.

He argued that Wolmarans didn't properly reconstruct the crime scene or consider the position of the magazine rack, which he said caused the injuries on Steenkamp's back when she fell onto it.

The witness admitted he used the state's ballistics report to determine the position of the rack in the toilet cubicle.

He also explained to the court that he didn't have enough time at the crime scene to consider certain details.

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