IT was a scene Oscar Pistorius was familiar with: a pack of press photographers surrounding his car and trying to get a picture of him though tinted glass.
But it is unlikely he would have imagined the flashbulb moment would be at the entrance to Weskoppies, the state psychiatric hospital in Pretoria.
Pistorius arrived for day one of his observation by three psychiatrists and a psychologist in a low-key Chevrolet. Four police cars entered the hospital just before his.
Hospital staff, with the authority and efficiency of school teachers, 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 on TV telling Oscar to “be strong. I love him”. There were no takers and she walked into the hospital, dejected.
Counsellor Janine Shamos said it was likely Pistorius would receive attention from other patients as he would be coming and going at regular times.
She said it was highly stressful to be observed constantly. “Psychiatrists will be watching for all reactions to see if anything is off kilter.”
Forensic psychologist Ivan de Klerk said during interviews, forensic psychologists were often cold.
“A counsellor is empathetic and subjective, but in a forensic observation, a psychiatrist wants to get to the truth.”
He said a diagnosis could be made in a short time but 30 days of observation would ensure a correct diagnosis. ‘There is no way to fake a condition over 30 days.”
The experts were looking for whether Oscar could determine right from wrong and if he could act in accordance with his knowledge, De Klerk said. He is accused of murdering former Port Elizabeth model Reeva Steenkamp in February last year. – Katharine Child