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Lead detective in Oscar Pistorius case facing seven attempted murder charges

21 FEBRUARY 2013

There has been an extraordinary twist in the Oscar Pistorius case. It has been revealed that the South African detective leading the inquiry is himself facing seven charges of attempted murder.

Police spokesperson Neville Malila said Detective Hilton Botha and two other officers are due to appear in court in May to face charges that they opened fire on a minibus loaded with passengers two years ago.

 

Detective Oscar Pistorius

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Mr Malila said that the charges had originally been dropped, but were then reinstated. It is not clear when this happened.

It remains to be seen how this latest development will affect the athlete's ongoing bail hearing. A spokesman for the prosecuting team told the Associated Press that they were unaware of the charges, and would now investigate.

Detective Botha underwent strenuous cross-examination on day two of Oscar Pistorius' bail hearing. At first he seemed to boost the prosecution's case, but under fire from the defense, his account showed inconsistencies.

One such contradiction came when he told the hearing a witness had heard fighting at the paralympian's home on the night his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp was shot. Detective Botha originally claimed the witness was some 600 metres away, but after a break for lunch, amended his answer to 300 metres.

 

Oscar Pistorius



He also revealed the police had lost track of ammunition found in the house and was accused of not wearing protective clothing at the crime scene.

Detective Botha eventually conceded that he had not yet seen any evidence to contradict the sportsman's version of events.

Following Wednesday's proceedings, Oscar's family said that while the changes in Detective Botha's account were "extremely concerning", they were "satisfied with the outcome" of the day.

The bail hearing is now in its third day in Pretoria. The 26-year-old denies the premeditated murder of his girlfriend Reeva, 29.

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