Psychologist: Oscar Pistorius 'broken' and unfit to give evidence at sentencing hearing

Disgraced athlete due to be sentenced for killing his girlfriend in 2013

Oscar Pistorius, south africa, Reeva Steenkamp

Oscar Pistorius, appears in the High Court in Pretoria, South Africa, Monday, June 13, 2016, for sentencing proceedings. Image: Themba Hadebe / AP/Press Association Images

Oscar Pistorius is unfit to give evidence and is a broken man who should not be jailed, a psychologist has told his sentence hearing.

Giving evidence in Pretoria, Professor Jonathan Scholtz said Pistorius was suffering from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, and asked the court to consider he had no criminal record prior to being convicted of murdering girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

"Currently he is not able to testify. His condition is severe," he said. "Further imprisonment would have a detrimental effect on him as a person, considering his current clinical condition."

Arguing for Pistorius not to be imprisoned, Prof Scholtz added: "He is 29 years old, he's intelligent, he's enrolled for a degree at the University of London, he has a place of residence that can sustain him, and he has an offer of employment."

Referring to the results of a psychiatric diagnosis test, Prof Scholtz said the former athlete's spirituality had deepened since his conviction and that he never wants to handle a firearm again.

"He becomes traumatised when he hears the sound of gunfire," said Prof Scholtz. "One would describe him as broken. In my opinion his current condition warrants hospitalisation."

Prof Scholtz was called by defence lawyer Barry Roux on the first day of what is expected to be a five-day hearing to determine Pistorius' sentence after his conviction for manslaughter was upgraded to murder in December.

Meanwhile, state prosecutor Gerrie Nel questioned Scholtz's assertion Pistorius was not fit to testify and insisted the former 'blade runner' had shown no remorse for his crime, feeling sorry only "for himself".

Pistorius, who is on medication for depression, anxiety and insomnia, arrived for the hearing in a dark suit and sat watching proceedings with red-eyes and occasionally holding his head in his hands. 

In South Africa, murder carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years.