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Oscar Pistorius's psychiatric evaluation begins

Oscar Pistorius arriving at Weskoppies Psychiatric hospital

Pretoria, May 26 (IANS) Murder-accused paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius Monday arrived at a psychiatric hospital in South Africa's capital Pretoria to begin his psychiatric evaluation.

Pistorius arrived at Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital, where he will be assessed for seven hours everyday for 30 days, Independent Online reported.

Pistorius is on trial for fatally shooting his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp through a locked toilet door Feb 14, 2013, at his house in Pretoria.

Pistorius has denied the murder charges and said that he shot Steenkamp, mistaking her for an intruder who had entered his house through the toilet window, but the state insisted that it was pre-meditated murder.

If found guilty of murder, Pistorius could face life imprisonment. If he is acquitted of that charge, the court will consider an alternative charge of culpable homicide, for which he could be sentenced to 15 years in prison.

The state applied to have Pistorius referred for mental observation after a defence witness diagnosed the athlete with a general anxiety disorder (GAD).

Three psychiatrists and a clinical psychologist will examine his state of mind and disability and whether it had an effect on him when he shot Steenkamp.

Depending on Pistorius's mental condition, he will be subjected to different tests, but most would include group and one-on-one therapy.

This examination report will be submitted to the registrar of the High Court in Pretoria, as well as the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The next court hearing will take place June 30.

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