In a bizarrely lengthy ruling—the reading of which took nearly two hours, most of which was devoted to summary of the evidence and of South African law—Magistrate Desmond Nair granted bail to paralympic medalist Oscar Pistorius, who has been charged with premeditated murder in the shooting death of his girlfriend, law student and model Reeva Steenkamp.
A star athlete is arrested and charged with murdering a woman he dated. The discovery of blood-covered evidence leads to the impression of an open-and-shut case—until one of the investigating police officers is discovered to have contaminated the crime scene, and accused of committing serious offenses himself. Sound familiar? Hilton Botha, the lead investigator in the case against South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius, admitted this week that he'd contaminated the crime scene, acknowledged that police had no evidence to contradict Pistorius' rendition of events, and incorrectly claimed that he'd found boxes of steroids in Pistorius' room. Even more shockingly, it's been revealed that Botha himself is facing seven attempted murder charges over an insane 2009 episode in which he and two other officers drunkenly fired their weapons at a taxi carrying seven people. (At the time, he was apparently "pursuing a man accused of murdering and dismembering a woman before dumping her body parts down a drain.") All three officers involved were arrested in 2011; the charges were dropped, and then reinstated on February 4. There have been reports that Botha will be dropped from the case, but none have been confirmed. Pistorius' bail hearing continued today, interrupted briefly when an unspecified "threat" required the runner and the presiding magistrate to leave the courtroom.
According to South Africa's Eyewitness News, Hilton Botha, the investigating officer in the Oscar Pistorius murder case, faces seven counts of attempted murder related to a 2009 shooting. Botha and three other officers allegedly opened fire on a minibus full of passengers while drunk. Botha was arrested and charged for the crime in 2011; at one point, the charges were dropped, but they were later reinstated.
Paralympic champion and accused murderer Oscar Pistorius told a packed courtroom through a statement today that he "had no intention" of killing his girlfriend, the law student and model Reeva Steenkamp, whom he shot to death on Valentine's day—contradicting the accusations of prosecutor Gerrie Nel, who at the same hearing argued that Pistorius committed premeditated murder: putting on his prosthetic limbs, walking from the bedroom to the bathroom, and shooting Steenkamp three times through the door.
Oscar Pistorius, the Paralympic medalist who was charged last week with the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, may have beaten her with a cricket bat before shooting her four times through the bathroom door—an attack said to have been spurred on by a text from an ex-boyfriend, the rugby player Francois Hougaard.