Sentencing hearing: Oscar Pistorius ‘broken’ and should be hospitalized


The first day of the hearing to determine what sentence Oscar Pistorius will receive for the murder of Reeva Steenkamp has concluded.

Here are the key developments.

Two witnesses will speak in mitigation

  • The defence says it will call two witnesses: the first, psychologist ProfessorJonathan Scholtz, gave evidence today. The second, so far unnamed, will speak about Pistorius’ charity work.

Scholtz: Pistorius should not return to prison

  • Scholtz said in his view Pistorius was “broken” and should be in hospital rather than prison.

Further imprisonment would have a detrimental effect on him.

[It] would not be psychologically or socially constructive.

Mr Pistorius would be better served … if he gave back in a positive and constructive way, using his skills.

  • The doctor said Pistorius’ depression, anxiety, paranoia and social phobia had worsened since his trial. He has post-traumatic stress disorder but is not a psychopath.
  • Scholtz said Pistorius cannot bear the sound of gunfire, even on television, and has sold all his firearms.
  • Pistorius will not testify

    • Scholtz said did not believe Pistorius was fit to testify in this hearing:

    I don’t think he is able to be a witness in this trial: his condition is severe.

    • But chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel asked why Pistorius had then been able to give an interview to Britain’s ITV, to be broadcast next week.

    ‘His risk of reoffending is low’

    • The former athlete has participated in courses on anger management and restorative justice, and the doctor believed his risk of violent reoffending was low.

    But he was ‘verbally violent and aggressive’ in prison

    • Nel said a separate report by a prison psychologist found Pistorius was “verbally violent and aggressive” towards staff.
    • Scholtz justified omitting this report from his own, saying it was a “poor report” and “unscientific”.
    • Barry Roux, for the defence, said an episode in which Pistorius banged a table came after he had been denied access to a painkilling drug, Voltaren, for three weeks.

    There are conflicting versions of his time in prison

    • The prosecution argued that information in the psychological report about Pistorius being assaulted in prison and witnessing a hanging were untrue.
    • Scholtz rejected a prosecution claim that two antidepressant drugs – Molipaxin and Cipralex – found in Pistorius’ cell were “illegal”.

    Pistorius ‘accepts he murdered Steenkamp’

    • Nel pushed Scholtz to confirm if Pistorius now admitted intentionally firing into the door and the person behind it (Pistorius had previously insisted it was an accident and/or self-defence):

    Nel: Did Mr Pistorius indicate to you that he intentionally shot at the door knowing there was a person in the bathroom?

    Scholtz: Yes …

    Nel: That’s the first version of him intentionally shooting at the person that we’ve had in this court.

    It’s not clear if the Steenkamps will testify

    • Nel has not yet revealed how many witnesses he will call, or who they will be. Reports suggested Barry Steenkamp, Reeva Steenkamp’s father, might appear in aggravation of sentence.
    • Nel said June Steenkamp had forgiven Pistorius, but “for her sake, not for his sake”.
    • Scholtz told the court Pistorius had paid the Steenkamps R6,500 a month because:

    This is the kind of person he is … It was not seen by him as some kind of means to change anything … This is what he does: he helps.

    The court resumes on Tuesday at 9.30am local time (7.30am GMT), when we expect to hear from the second witness for the defence.


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