The judge in the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius ruled Wednesday that the Olympian must undergo a 30-day psychiatric evaluation to determine if he suffers from an anxiety disorder that could have influenced his actions the night he shot and killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.
"A doubt has been created," Judge Thokozile Masipa said Wednesday of Pistorius' potential affliction, according to CNN.
"The accused may not have raised the issue that he was not criminally responsible at the time of the incident in so many words, but evidence raised on his behalf cannot be ignored."
The reasoning behind Masipa's ruling dates back to earlier this week, when Dr. Merryl Vorster testified that Pistorius suffered from an anxiety disorder brought on by a rough childhood and the amputation of his legs. Vorster concluded that such a disorder could cloud a person's judgment, and therefore have led to Pistorius mistaking Steenkamp for an intruder and shooting her, which has been the defense's story all along.
If Pistorius is found to have a disorder his culpability in the crime would certainly be diminished.
Prosecutors, however, were wary of the diagnosis and asked Tuesday that Pistorius be evaluated.
Masipa acknowledged that the evaluation was not a form of punishment and she requested it be done as an out-patient procedure, if at all possible.
Regardless, the evaluation will serve as yet another delay in a trial that has already spanned more than two months. Masipa will rule next Tuesday the exact terms of her order, and court will be adjourned until that time.