Truro News

Lead police investigat­or in Pistorius investigat­ion offers confused testimony

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PRETORIA, South Africa – The detective leading the police investigat­ion into Oscar Pistorius’ fatal shooting of his girlfriend offered confusing testimony Wednesday, at one point agreeing with the athlete’s defence that officers had no evidence challengin­g the runner’s claim he accidental­ly killed her.

Testimony by Detective Warrant Officer Hilton Botha of the South African Police Service left prosecutor­s rubbing their temples, only able to look down at their notes as he misjudged distances and acknowledg­ed a forensics team left in the toilet bowl one of the bullet slugs fired at Reeva Steenkamp. However, Botha still poked holes in Pistorius’ own account that he feared for his life and opened fire on Valentine’s Day after mistaking Steenkamp for an intruder.

The second day of the bail hearing in a case that has riveted South Africa and much of the world appeared at first to go against the doubleampu­tee runner, with prosecutor­s saying a witness can testify to hearing “non- stop talking, like shouting” between 2 a. m. and 3 a. m. before the predawn shooting on Feb. 14. However, Botha later said under cross examinatio­n that the person who overheard the argument was in a house 600 metres away in Pistorius’ gated community in the suburbs of South Africa’s capital, Pretoria.

Later, prosecutor Gerrie Nel questioned Botha again and the detective acknowledg­ed the distance was much closer. But confusion reigned for much of his testimony, when at one point Botha said officers found syringes and steroids in Pistorius’ bedroom. Nel quickly cut the officer off and said the drugs were actually testostero­ne.

Pistorius’ lead defence lawyer, Barry Roux, asserted when questionin­g the detective – who has 16 years’ experience as a detective and 24 years with the police – that it was not a banned substance and that police were trying to give the discovery a “negative connotatio­n.”

“It is an herbal remedy,” Roux said. “It is not a steroid and it is not a banned substance.”

The name of the drug, offered later in court by Roux, could not be immediatel­y found in reference materials by The Associated Press. A spokesman for prosecutor­s later said it’s too early to know what the substance is, as they don’t yet have results of forensic testing on the material.

Pistorius, 26, said in an affidavit read in court Tuesday that he and his 29- year- old girlfriend had gone to bed and that when he awoke during the night he detected what he thought was an intruder in the bathroom. He testified he grabbed his 9 mm pistol and fired into the door of a toilet enclosed in the bathroom, only to discover later to his horror that Steenkamp was there, mortally wounded.

Pistorius, the first Paralympia­n runner to compete at the Olympics, is charged with premeditat­ed murder in the case.

The prosecutio­n attempted to cement its argument that the couple had a shouting match, that Steenkamp fled and locked herself into the toilet stall of the bathroom and that Pistorius fired four shots through the door, hitting her with three bullets.

 ??  ?? Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius stands inside the court as a police officer looks on during his bail hearing at the magistrate court in Pretoria, South Africa, on Wednesday. A South African judge says defense lawyers will need to offer " exceptiona­l"...
Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius stands inside the court as a police officer looks on during his bail hearing at the magistrate court in Pretoria, South Africa, on Wednesday. A South African judge says defense lawyers will need to offer " exceptiona­l"...

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