The lead detective has been kicked off the Oscar Pistorius case following the shocking revelation that the cop is facing his own attempted murder charges. Hilton Botha was assigned to probe the murder of Oscar’s model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, but he is now facing charges for a 2009 case in which he and other allegedly officers shot at a minivan taxi full of passengers — while drunk.
Botha already made headlines earlier this week for his strange, wish-washy testimony at a bail hearing, which had prosecutors cringing and may have weakened their case.
Now it gets worse. Police confirmed Botha is facing seven counts of attempted murder, according to South Africa’s The Times. Botha and two other officers were accused of firing shots at a taxi carrying seven passengers. He was first charged in 2009, but charges were soon dropped and the matter was shown to the director of public prosecutions. “It was only yesterday [Wednesday] that we were informed by the DPP that he is being charged,” said Gauteng police spokesman Brigadier Neville Malila.
Botha previously denied the charges at the time of the shooting:
We were trying to apprehend a second suspect in a murder. The taxi tried to push us off the road. We fired.
Botha was heavily criticized this week after confusing the jury by claiming that he found boxes of testosterone in Oscar’s bedroom and stating that the police had no evidence against Pistorious’ version of events. The court then forced Botha to correct his error, and he admitted that he wasn’t certain of the boxes’ contents.
With Botha out of the picture, Mail and Guardian reported that Lieutenant General Vinesh Moonoo will take over the investigation. National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega told reporters that he is an “experienced detective.” Phiyega said, “He will lead the process of establishing a team of highly skilled and professional detectives. They shall continue with this investigation.”
Hilton Botha is due to appear in court in May for the attempted murder charges.