Pistorius detective pulled off case
The lead investigator in Oscar Pistorius' murder trial is taken off the case after it emerged he was facing attempted murder charges.PT1M26S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2ev0o 620 349 February 22, 2013
South African police have named a top detective to take over the bungled Oscar Pistorius investigation 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 'Riah' Phiyega said on Thursday.
She assigned the case to top-ranking detective Lieutenant General Vineshkumar Moonoo.
Dumped ... investigating officer Hilton Botha. Photo: Reuters
"He is the most senior detective in the SAPS environment. This matter will receive attention at the national level."
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's bail hearing on Thursday, undermining the man who had been the key to the prosecution's allegation of premeditated murder.
Oscar Pistorius appears in court. Photo: Reuters
"We were only informed yesterday that attempted murder charges against Hilton Botha have been reinstated," police spokesman Neville Malila said.
It was the final straw for Botha, whose testimony was repeatedly challenged by defence lawyers on Wednesday.
Pistorius's lawyers had torn into Botha's police work during a court hearing, undermining his witnesses and forcing him to agree that the Olympian's version of events fitted the crime scene.
Barry Roux ... "disastrous shortcomings in the state’s case." Photo: AP
"It sounds consistent," Botha told the court.
Botha conceded he did not wear protective clothing when Pistorius's forensic team visited the athlete's luxury Pretoria home where the killing took place, which may have contaminated the scene.
He was further forced to admit that police had not seen a bullet that hit the toilet basin and which was only discovered four days later by the defence forensic team.
On Thursday, defence lawyer Barry Roux again pilloried Botha and what he called "disastrous shortcomings in the state's case".
As the controversy over the police investigation swirled, Botha admitted on the witness stand: "I'm sure it could have been handled better."