Oscar Pistorius won’t be testifying in his own sentencing procedures because his “spirit has broken”, said his psychologist.
The convicted murderer’s temper tantrums and “illegal substances” found in his jail cell came under the spotlight in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria yesterday.
Sentencing proceedings got underway for the paralympian who was convicted for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Velentine’s Day 2013.
He faces a minimum of 15 years in jail.
It was revealed that the disgraced former paralympian was found in possession of “illegal medicine” when his prison cell was searched by warders.
Prosecutor Gerrie Nel, cross-examining a defence witness, Professor Jonathan Scholtz, said the incident happened on July 19 last year when Pistorius was serving the jail term for culpable homicide, the charge he had originally been convicted of.
Scholtz said he was not aware of the incident.
Scholtz was also asked about Pistorius’ “temper tantrums” and whether the athlete had shown remorse.
The prosecutor said Pistorius had slammed a table while confronting a prison official in January.
He had avoided greeting the same official as he entered court yesterday, but shook hands with other correctional services staff who were present.
People in the packed court were disappointed to hear the world-renowned disabled athlete wouldn’t be taking the stand himself in mitigation of sentencing.
Pistorius was at court, and appeared tired, his eyes dik geswel like he’d had a sleepless night.
Scholtz, a psychologist at Weskoppies psychiatric hospital in Pretoria, said he had assessed the convicted killer in 2014 and again last month.
Asked why Pistorius is not taking to the stand, Scholtz claimed the Blade Runner’s mental state was worse than ever, and that he is suffering from a host of mental disorders.
But Nel pointed out that Pistorius was able to grant an interview to British TV broadcaster ITV recently, which will be aired later this month.
Scholtz replied: “I suppose in an interview with the TV he can’t be put under the same pressure as in a court of law.”
But an unconvinced Nel fired back: “Or, there won’t be anybody that would check his version to see if it’s the truth because the interviewer will let you go?”
Scholtz also insisted that Pistorius should not be sent back to jail.
“His spirit is broken. One has to prompt him to get some semblance of hope for the future. During the consultations he was forgetful and despondent. I had to wake him up twice,” Scholtz told Judge Thokozile Masipa.
“His condition clinically deteriorated. If he were my patient, I would admit him to hospital.”
He spent a total of eight hours consulting with Pistorius in May this year.
Scholtz told the court that Pistorius had shown remorse for shooting Reeva and that he now believes it “all part of God’s plan”.
The professor requested interviews with Reeva’s parents, but these were declined through their legal counsel.
Roux only questioned Scholtz for 10 minutes before court was adjourned.
Last year, the Supreme Court of Appeal overturned Pistorius’ culpable homicide conviction and instead convicted him of murder for shooting Reeva four times through his bathroom door.
Sentencing proceedings resume today.