Pistorius a "broken" man, psychologist tells South African court

Mon Jun 13, 2016 10:17am EDT
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By TJ Strydom and Tanisha Heiberg

PRETORIA (Reuters) - Oscar Pistorius is a "broken" man who should not be jailed for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, a psychologist told a court in South Africa on Monday, while a prosecutor said he has shown no remorse.

The 29-year-old Paralympic gold medalist, 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.

The case has prompted a fierce debate in a country beset by high levels of violent crime against women. Some rights groups have said the white athlete has received preferential treatment.

Jonathan Scholtz, a psychologist called by Pistorius' lawyer Barry Roux, told the sentencing hearing 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.

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

"Since 2013, he becomes traumatized 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 at 2000 GMT.

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

Former Paralympian Oscar Pistorius arrives to be sentenced for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at the Pretoria High Court, South Africa June 13,2016. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko