Investigator in Pistorius' case faces murder charges

2013-02-21 13:56:33 GMT2013-02-21 21:56:33(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

PRETORIA, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- The investigator in paralympian Oscar Pistorius' murder case, Hilton Botha, faces charges of attempted murder, the Pretoria Magistrate's Court heard on Thursday.

Botha is facing seven charges of attempted murder for allegedly firing shots at a minibus taxi carrying seven occupants. Botha allegedly was drunk at the time of the incident.

When asked about the charge, Prosecutor Gerrie Nel said he did not know, but said: "We have heard that he will appear in May."

Botha told the court that the incident, which took place in December 2011, was as a result of his investigation into another murder case.

"My blood was never tested for alcohol in the aftermath of the shooting. I wasn't drunk," Botha said.

He said he fired shots at the taxi after it "tried to push us off the road" during a pursue of a murder suspect.

Nel said the matter was on the court roll until March 2012. It was then withdrawn, but was reinstated on Wednesday.

Botha said: "I don't understand why the case was reinstated. I can only think this is linked to my work on Oscar Pistorius."

Botha testified at the Pretoria Magistrate's Court on Wednesday in Pistorius's bail hearing, insisting that Pistorius knew he was firing at his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp the night she was killed in his house.

The policeman also testified that they have found a box of the male hormone testosterone and hypodermic needles at Pistorius' home.

Pistorius' lawyer rejected the allegations.

Pistorius appeared at the court for the third day on Thursday to secure bail. He is charged with premeditatedly murdering his girl friend Reeva Steenkamp on February 14, a crime for which bail is granted only under exceptional circumstance.

His lawyer Barry Roux told the court that there was no evidence that Pistorius shot Steenkamp.

If Pistorius had wanted to kill Steenkamp, he did not need a locked toilet or bathroom.

"He could do it anywhere," said Roux, rejecting not only the murder charge, but also that it was pre-meditated as the State has alleged.

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