Pistorius begins psychiatric evaluation, trial postponed

PRETORIA, South Africa - Oscar Pistorius will start a period of psychiatric evaluation at a state institution next week, the judge at his murder trial ruled on Tuesday as she postponed court proceedings until June 30.

Judge Thokozile Masipa took just a few minutes to read out her ruling that the double-amputee Olympian must present himself at 9 a.m. on Monday and every weekday after that at the Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital in Pretoria.

Pistorius will be treated as an outpatient, Masipa ruled, and will be allowed to leave the facility in the South African capital each day at 4 p.m. or when "formally excused" by hospital authorities. His period of evaluation will be for no more than 30 days, the judge said, and will depend on how long a panel of four mental health experts needs to compile a report for the court.

Pistorius, who is charged with premeditated murder for fatally shooting his girlfriend last year, stood in the Pretoria courtroom with his hands crossed in front of him and looked at the judge as she explained her decision.

A psychiatrist called by Pistorius' defence lawyers testified at the murder trial last week that she believed the runner had an anxiety disorder from childhood which may have contributed to him killing Reeva Steenkamp last year. That prompted the chief prosecutor to apply that he be sent for psychiatric tests.

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