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February 21, 2013 – 8:31 am | Views: 836

The South African detective leading the Oscar Pistorius inquiry is facing seven charges of attempted murder, police have confirmed.

Pistorius detective on attempted murder charges

Detective Hilton Botha changed details of his testimony under questioning on Wednesday

Detective Hilton Botha, who has faced fierce questioning at Mr Pistorius’s bail hearing, was allegedly involved in a shooting two years ago.

Mr Pistorius, a Paralympic champion, denies the premeditated murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, 29.

His bail hearing in Pretoria is scheduled to resume at 09:00 GMT.

Reinstated charges

Police spokesman Neville Malila said that Det Botha and two other officers were due to appear in court in May.

Mr Malila said it was alleged that while driving a state-owned vehicle the three had opened fire on a minibus taxi loaded with passengers.

The three were arrested in 2011, Eyewitness News says, citing police.

Mr Malila said the charges against Det Botha had originally been dropped but were reinstated.

It is unclear when this took place or whether Det Botha will continue working on the case.

Medupe Simasiku, a spokesman for the Pistorius prosecutors, told Associated Press they were unaware of the charges and would now investigate whether the detective should remain.

The BBC’s Peter Biles in Pretoria says the police statement concerning Det Botha is an extraordinary turn of events.

Mr Pistorius says he shot Ms Steenkamp in the bathroom of his home after mistaking her for an intruder.

If denied bail, Mr Pistorius could face months in prison before a full trial begins.

‘Extremely concerning’

Correspondents say Det Botha’s evidence on Wednesday appeared first to boost the prosecution’s case and then offer the defence a hope of winning the argument.

Det Botha told the court that the trajectory of gunshots through the bathroom door indicated that Mr Pistorius, a double amputee, was wearing his prosthetic legs and shot downwards through the door.

This contradicted an earlier account given by Mr Pistorius, who said he was walking on his stumps and grabbed his gun because he felt vulnerable when he thought an intruder had entered.

The detective then said a witness had said he heard fighting at Mr Pistorius’s home on the night Ms Steenkamp was shot.

Det Botha initially said the witness was some 600m (1,800ft) away, but later amended his answer to 300m after a break for lunch.

Mr Pistorius’s family said the changes were “extremely concerning”.

Det Botha said police had lost lost track of ammunition found inside the house.

The detective was also accused of not wearing protective clothing at the crime scene.

The defence also countered police suggestions that testosterone and needles had been found in Mr Pistorius’s bedroom, arguing instead that the substance was a herbal remedy, called Testocompasutium co-enzyme.

The magistrate appeared to question Det Botha’s assertion that Mr Pistorius could be a flight risk who should be denied bail.

The Pistorius family issued a statement saying they were “satisfied with the outcome” of Wednesday’s proceedings.

The magistrate has deemed this a “schedule six” case, meaning Mr Pistorius is accused of premeditated murder.

His defence team will have to prove the extenuating circumstances that would justify granting bail.

Oscar Pistorius won gold medals at the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens, in Beijing in 2008 and London in 2012.

In London he made history by becoming the first double-amputee to run in the Olympics, making the semi-final of the 400m.

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Article from: bbc.co.uk


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Pistorius detective on attempted murder charges

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