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Top detective assigned in Pistorius murder case
2013-02-21 12:03:19 | (0 Comments)
(AP) — South Africa's top detective was appointed lead investigator in the Oscar Pistorius case, following the disclosure that veteran policeman Hilton Botha, was facing attempted murder charges.
National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega promised that a team of "highly skilled and experienced" officers would investigate the killing of Pistorius' 29-year-old girlfriend.
Pistorius, 26, has been charged with premeditated murder in the case.
The decision to put police Lt. Gen. Vinesh Moonoo in charge came after word emerged that the initial chief investigator, Hilton Botha, is facing attempted murder charges, and a day after he offered testimony damaging to the prosecution in Pistorius' bail hearing.
Pistorius, an Olympic runner whose lower legs were amputated when he was less than a year old, killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in the predawn hours of Valentine's Day.
He claims he mistook her for an intruder when he shot her through a locked door in a bathroom in his home. Prosecutors say the shooting happened after the couple got into an argument and allege the killing was deliberate, carried out with no mercy.
Botha acknowledged Wednesday in court that nothing in Pistorius' version of the fatal shooting of Steenkamp contradicted what police had discovered, even though there have been some discrepancies.
Botha also said that police had left a 9 mm slug in the toilet and had lost track of allegedly illegal ammunition found in Pistorius' home.
"This matter shall receive attention at the national level," Phiyega told reporters soon after the end of proceedings in the third day of Pistorius' bail hearing.
The case has riveted South Africa and much of the world and has placed the country's judicial system under close scrutiny.
Bulewa Makeke, spokeswoman for South Africa's National Prosecuting Authority, said the attempted murder charges had been reinstated against Botha on February 4.
Police say they found out about it after Botha testified in Pistorius' bail hearing Wednesday.
Botha and two other police officers had seven counts of attempted murder reinstated against them in relation to a 2011 shooting incident.
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Source: The Gleaner/Power 106 News
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