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Pistorius bail hearing continues
February 21, 2013, 6:45 pm


Oscar Pistorius denies the premeditated murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp [AP]

A decision on whether to grant bail to Oscar Pistorius, the double amputee Olympic star, is yet to be made after another dramatic day in court.

In a remarkable twist to the case that has drawn international attention, South African police revealed that the lead detective in the investigation against Pistorius faces seven criminal charges of attempted murder.

There was confusion over whether Detective Hilton Botha was still involved in the hearing, after reports he had been removed from the case.

Mangwashi Phiyega, the Police Commissioner confirmed in a press conference later that Mr Botha will be replaced by another senior detective.

Pistorius, dubbed the Blade Runner for his prosthetic legs, faces a charge of premeditated murder in the Valentine’s Day shooting of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

The Olympic and Paralympic champion denies the charge and says he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder and shot her out of fear, while prosecutors say he planned the killing and attacked her as she cowered behind a locked bathroom door.

The chief prosecutor identified the charges against Botha in court but stated they did not know the case had been reinstated.

The prosecution summed up their evidence against Pistorius, claiming he “shot to kill”.

Barry Roux, the defence lawyer said the evidence did not show it was premeditated murder.

Roux argued that Pistorius should be granted bail till a court date is set, saying that the accused is an internationally known athlete who would not attempt to flee.

An extraordinary amount of detail has come out during this initial bail hearing, which is set to continue tomorrow morning in Pretoria.

On wednesday the prosecution said ballistic evidence showed the bullets that killed her had been fired from a height, supporting their assertion that Pistorius was wearing prosthetic legs when he took aim at the bathroom door.

Yesterday, Botha, the lead detective up until today’s proceedings told the court that police found syringes and two boxes of testosterone in Pistorius’ bedroom, a testimony the prosecution later withdrew, saying it was too early to identify the substance, which was still being tested.

“It is not certain (what it is) until the forensics” are completed, Medupe Simasiku, a spokesman for South Africa’s National Prosecution Agency, told The Associated Press news agency.

Botha offered potentially damaging details about Pistorius’ past, saying the athlete was once involved in an accidental shooting at a restaurant in Johannesburg and asked someone else “to take the rap”.

The runner also threatened men on two separate occasions, Botha said, allegedly telling one of them that he would “break his legs.”

Chief magistrate Desmond Nair will decide whether to keep Pistorius in prison until trial.

Source: Agencies