Now, detective drama in Pistorius case!

Feb 22, 2013, 09:47 IST | Agencies

South Africa police replace investigating officer Botha in Blade Runner's case due to attempted murder charges against him; bail hearing adjourned

South African police tapped a top detective to take over the bungled Oscar Pistorius investigation yesterday after it emerged the officer assigned to the case faces attempted murder charges.

“We recognise the significance, the importance and the severity of the matter,” commissioner of the South African Police Service (SAPS) Mangwashi Phiyega said. She assigned the case to top-ranking lieutenant general Vineshkumar Moonoo. “He is the most senior detective in the SAPS environment.

Oscar Pistorius in court yesterday

This matter will receive attention at the national level,” she added.

The Pistorius prosecution has been severely undermined by revelations that Hilton Botha, the original case officer, has to answer seven attempted murder charges for shooting at a minibus taxi in 2011. The revelation overshadowed Pistorius’ bail hearing yesterday, undermining the man who was key to the prosecution’s allegation of premeditated murder.

“We were only informed yesterday that attempted murder charges against Hilton Botha have been reinstated,” police spokesman Neville Malila told AFP. It was the final straw for Botha, whose testimony was repeatedly challenged by defence attorneys on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Pistorius’ bail hearing was adjourned yesterday. Magistrate Desmond Nair said he would remain in custody again at the Brooklyn police station holding cells until Thursday.

Nike suspend Pistorius contract
Nike has suspended its contract with Oscar Pistorius, a spokesman for the US sportswear giant said yesterday as the South African athlete fights charges of murdering his girlfriend.

“Nike has suspended its contract with Oscar Pistorius,” the firm’s UK and Ireland spokesman told AFP. “We believe Oscar Pistorius should be afforded due process and we will continue to monitor the situation closely.”

The 26-year-old Pistorius, who has both legs amputated below the knee, is linked to several sponsors with deals running into million of dollars.

Women protest ‘special treatment’
Members of the Women’s League of the ruling African National Congress yesterday accused authorities of giving ‘special treatment’ to Oscar Pistorius charged of murdering his girlfriend.

“The ANCWL would like to register our dissatisfaction at this special treatment that Pistorius is getting and would like prosecutors to take this issue up.

Unlike others who are in prison, Pistorius’ family is permitted to visit him at all hours not just the prescribed visiting hours as would be the case in prison,” the ANCWL said a statement yesterday.  

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