Oscar has nowhere to hide

27 May 2014 - 01:59 By Katharine Child
Oscar Pistorius arrives at Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital. He has been referred for a month of psychiatric evaluation
Oscar Pistorius arrives at Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital. He has been referred for a month of psychiatric evaluation
Image: ALON SKUY

It was a scene Oscar Pistorius was all too familiar with: a pack of press photographers surrounding his car and trying to get a picture of him though the tinted windows.

But it is unlikely that until recently he could have imagined being photographed on his arrival at Weskoppies, the state psychiatric hospital in Pretoria.

Driven in a modest Chevrolet, Pistorius appeared for day one of his period of observation by three psychiatrists and a psychologist who will try to assess the extent to which he suffers from generalised anxiety disorder.

Four police cars entered the hospital just before Pistorius.

Hospital staff had been checking the occupants of every car since early in the morning.

One female patient arrived at the hospital and asked to be filmed for TV telling Oscar to "be strong".

"I love him," she said.

There were no takers and she walked dejectedly back into the hospital.

Counsellor Janine Shamos said: "Psychiatrists will be watching all his reactions to see if anything is at all off kilter."

Forensic psychologist Ivan de Klerk said that during interviews with those being assessed forensic psychologists do not adopt a warm bedside manner.

"A counsellor is empathetic and subjective, but in a forensic observation a psychiatrist wants to get to the truth."

De Klerk said 30 days of observation were necessary to ensure an accurate diagnosis of Pistorius's mental state.

'There is no way it would be possible to fake a condition for 30 days," he said.

The experts will determine if Pistorius can differentiate between right and wrong, and if he can act in accordance with such knowledge, said De Klerk.

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