(CNN) — Oscar Pistorius, the onetime Olympic athlete turned murder suspect, must undergo a month of psychiatric testing before his trial can continue, the judge in the case ruled Wednesday.
The move puts his trial on ice indefinitely.
It was triggered by the testimony of a psychiatrist who testified that the sprinter has suffered from anxiety since he was an infant, stemming partly from the amputation of both of his lower legs because of a genetic defect.
Pistorius is accused of murdering his girlfriend, the model Reeva Steenkamp, in his home last year.
Pistorius, 27, does not claim he was insane or mentally incapacitated when he shot her, but when the defense put the psychiatrist on the stand, it raised the question of the athlete’s mental health, the judge said Wednesday.
“A doubt has been created” that Pistorius may have a psychiatric issue that would affect the court’s verdict, so she must order the testing, Judge Thokozile Masipa said Wednesday.
“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,” she said of testimony by Dr. Merryll Vorster.
She acknowledged that her order would mean a long delay in the trial, but said that was not the most important consideration.
“This is not about anyone’s convenience, but about whether justice has been served,” she said.
“The aim of the referral is not to punish the accused twice,” Masipa said, saying that Pistorius should be examined as an outpatient rather than committed to an institution if possible.