Evaluation: Pistorius is criminally liable

The summaries of two reports were read on the record at the start of yesterday's proceedings.

Oscar Pistorius at the High Court in Pretoria on 30 June 2014. Picture: Pool.

PRETORIA - The highly-anticipated psychiatric evaluation of murder accused Oscar Pistorius has confirmed his criminal liability for the death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

The summaries of two reports were read on the record at the start of proceedings yesterday in the North Gauteng High Court after a six week adjournment.

Pistorius shot and killed Steenkamp at his upmarket Pretoria East home on Valentine's Day last year.

While he claims it was an accident, the state has argued he killed her in cold blood.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel read to the court the major findings of Pistorius's psychiatric evaluation.

"At time of the alleged offences, the accused did not suffer from a mental disorder or mental defect that affected his ability to distinguish between rightful or wrongful nature of his deeds."

Details of the expert findings, like whether Pistorius suffered from Generalised Anxiety Disorder for years prior to the shooting were not revealed in court.

Defence advocate Barry Roux said they are still studying the report and will need to consult with experts on the findings.

The Olympic and Paralympic athlete's lack of mobility on his stumps and his alleged screams on the night in question also came under the spotlight during yesterday's proceedings.

Orthopaedic surgeon Dr Gerald Versfeld, who amputated the athlete's legs as a child went into great detail about Pistorius's struggle to balance.

The expert told the court that problems with Pistorius's stumps, particularly the left one, made it difficult for him to walk and balance without holding onto something.

Acoustics engineer Ivan Lin cast doubt on evidence by neighbours.

Earlier in the case, a witness from the luxury Silver Woods Country Estate and a surrounding complex told the court they heard screaming on the night Steenkamp was killed.

Lin provided significant technical details on how the sounds of a person screaming would have travelled through doors and windows, and the degree to which a person could hear the sounds at specific distances.

He constructed scenarios at 80 metres and 177 metres from the source to simulate the two locations where the screaming was heard.

Lin said at the closer distance, the sound would have been audible and intelligible.

The expert found that a person could distinguish the difference between a typical male and female scream, but this was not always the case.

Also earlier in the case, defence lawyers argued when Pistorius screamed he sounded like a woman, especially when anxious.

Get live updates from the trial on EWN's live blog for more background, visit EWN's Oscar Pistorius portal.