Hilton Botha: Detective leading Oscar Pistorius inquiry faces seven charges of attempted murder
Hilton Botha, the South African detective leading the Oscar Pistorius inquiry, is facing seven charges of attempted murder, police have confirmed.
Detective Hilton Botha, who has faced fierce questioning at Oscar Pistorius’s bail hearing, was allegedly involved in a shooting two years ago.
Oscar Pistorius, a Paralympic champion, denies the premeditated murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, 29.
His bail hearing in Pretoria is scheduled to resume at 11:00 a.m.
Police spokesman Neville Malila said that Hilton Botha and two other officers were due to appear in court in May.
Neville 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.
Neville Malila told Reuters news agency the charges against Hilton Botha had originally been dropped but were reinstated on Wednesday by the state prosecutor after the officer had taken the stand.
It is not clear whether Hilton 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.
Oscar Pistorius says he shot Reeva Steenkamp in the bathroom of his home after mistaking her for an intruder.
If denied bail, Oscar Pistorius could face months in prison before a full trial begins.
Correspondents say Det Hilton 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 Hilton Botha told the court that the trajectory of gunshots through the bathroom door indicated that Oscar Pistorius, a double amputee, was wearing his prosthetic legs and shot downwards through the door.
This contradicted an earlier account given by Oscar 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 Oscar Pistorius’s home on the night Reeva Steenkamp was shot.
Det Hilton Botha initially said the witness was some 600 m (1,800 ft) away, but later amended his answer to 300 m after a break for lunch.
Oscar Pistorius’s family said the changes were “extremely concerning”.
The detective was also accused of not wearing protective clothing at the crime scene.
The magistrate appeared to question Det Hilton Botha’s assertion that Oscar 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 Oscar 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 Oscar Pistorius made history by becoming the first double-amputee to run in the Olympics, making the semi-final of the 400 m.