November 24, 2020

Oscar Pistorius case: Top detective brought in

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_66004954_66004953South Africa’s top detective is to take over the Oscar Pistorius inquiry amid attempted murder accusations against current lead officer Hilton Botha.

Detective Botha was removed pending the result of an investigation into seven counts of attempted murder.

National police commissioner Mangwashi Phiyega announced the change after a third day of testimony at Mr Pistorius’s bail hearing.

Mr Pistorius, 26, denies murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, 29.

Ms Steenkamp died after being shot three times at Mr Pistorius’ home on 14 February.

Ms Phiyega said the police had received feedback from state prosecutors about Det Botha only on Wednesday.

She described him as an “experienced detective” who was not yet facing any criminal charges.

However, she said she was using her authority as national police chief to ask Lt Gen Vinesh Moonoo to take over the Pistorius case.

Gen Moonoo is reported to be a v_65995960_picxxeteran of some 30 years service. He will work with the police chief in Gauteng province on a case Ms Phiyega said required attention “at a national level”.

She denied that the decision to replace Det Botha was embarrassing for the police.

The BBC’s Pumza Fihlani, in Pretoria, says the claims against Det Botha refer to a 2009 incident in which he and several other officers allegedly opened fired on a minibus taxi carrying seven passengers when the driver apparently disobeyed an order to stop.

‘Poor quality evidence’

In court on Thursday, defence and prosecution lawyers offered their final arguments.

The magistrate is expected to issues his ruling on Mr Pistorius’s bail application on Friday.

Lead defence lawyer Barry Roux asked for the charge of premeditated murder to be downgraded, and said Det Botha’s contradictory evidence on Wednesday had undermined the prosecution’s case.

Mr Roux said: “The poor quality of the evidence offered by investigative officer Botha exposed the disastrous shortcomings of the state’s case.”

The defence counsel said the fact that Mr Pistorius had carried Ms Steenkamp downstairs showed he was desperate to save her life.

On Wednesday, 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 his home.

But Det Botha also amended his testimony on the proximity of the witness who he said had heard arguments.

He said police had lost track of ammunition found inside the house, and 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.

On Thursday, prosecutor Gerrie Nel told the court that Mr Pistorius should not be granted bail simply because he is famous.

He branded Mr Pistorius as a man “prone to violence” who threatened Ms Steenkamp and eventually killed her.

For more on this story go to:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-21536888

Pistorius detective faces attempted murder charges, police confirm

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

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

South African Police Service spokesman Brigadier Neville Malila said that charges against Mr Botha had been reinstated on Wednesday (20)

For more on this story go to:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-21531836

 

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