Pistorius detective faces charges

Burnley and Pendle Citizen: Hilton Botha sits in court during the Oscar Pistorius hearing (AP) Hilton Botha sits in court during the Oscar Pistorius hearing (AP)

Blade runner Oscar Pistorius has returned to court for a third day amid revelations that the lead investigator in the case against him is himself facing attempted murder charges.

Detective Hilton Botha, who has given evidence against the Paralympian during his bail hearing this week, is scheduled to appear in court in May on seven counts of attempted murder, the South African Police Service has confirmed.

Police brigadier Neville Malila said Botha and two other police officers fired shots while trying to stop a minivan in an incident believed to have happened in October 2011. The prosecution said they were unaware of the charges against the detective when they put him on the stand in court to explain why Pistorius should not be given bail.

Mr Malila said police learned on Wednesday, the same day that Botha appeared in court to oppose the bail application, that the charges against Botha and the two others had been reinstated by the director of public prosecutions. They were initially dropped following the shooting incident. He said police were waiting for details from the Botha case file from the prosecutor.

Medupe Simasiku, the spokesman for the prosecutors charging Pistorius with premeditated murder, could not say how the charges against Botha would affect their case against Pistorius. "The (Pistorius) prosecutors were not aware of those charges (against Botha)," said Mr Simasiku, of the National Prosecution Agency. "We are calling up the information so we can get the details of the case. From there we can take action and see if we remove him from the investigation or if he stays."

Pistorius could find out today if he will be granted bail after being charged with the premeditated murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. He has admitted shooting the model, 29, but claims he did so thinking she was a burglar or burglars who were in the bathroom.

He adds that he opened fire in the dark because he was too scared to turn a light on. Realising his mistake, he broke the door down with a cricket bat and carried her downstairs, he said.

On Wednesday Botha was forced to admit that the prosecution had no evidence challenging the double-amputee Olympian's claim that he killed his girlfriend accidentally, as well as to a number of police blunders in the investigation. He was also laughed at in court for claiming the world-famous Paralympian could go on the run.

The court was told a witness heard "non-stop shouting" coming from his home before he shot his girlfriend dead. The witness overheard the "row" which is said to have come from the property at the exclusive Silver Lakes Golf Estate between 2am and 3am on Valentine's Day, the prosecution said. Shortly afterwards, Reeva Steenkamp, 29, lay bleeding to death in Pistorius's bathroom. She was hit by three bullets - one in the head, the hip and arm, Pretoria Magistrates' Court heard.

The prosecution believe Pistorius, who won two gold medals and a silver at London's 2012 Paralympic Games, is a flight risk and is opposing bail.

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