State confident about Oscar case

2013-02-23 09:15

The State remained confident about its murder case against paralympian Oscar Pistorius, despite the fact that he was granted bail.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesman Medupe Simasiku said yesterday’s ruling by Pretoria Magistrate Desmond Nair was only about bail.

“As the State, we are confident of the case which we have been handling. I believe we have a case in front of us. This was just a bail application,” he said.

“Being a bail application, it (the court’s decision) doesn’t mean an acquittal. We still have a case to deal with, and we respect the ruling of the court so far.”

Simasiku said the State believed it had enough evidence to ensure Pistorius would be convicted when the trial begins.

“We still believe we have the evidence to convict Oscar Pistorius, but I cannot give details regarding what it is. It is still being examined and when that is complete, we will enrol the case for a trial,” said Simasiku.

He said the magistrate’s criticism of the State witness came as a result of the lack of adequate time to prepare and to collate facts.

“We are not ready, investigations are still going on. Definitely if you ask questions to someone who does not have enough evidence, including the ballistic reports, it comes to a point where he concedes to some questions put to him,” he said.

“That criticism doesn’t mean we should lose hope in this case. We are going to meet Pistorius in June and then we will know when this matter will go on trial.”

Pistorius was released on bail yesterday. Bail was set at R1 million, with conditions.

He was arrested on February 14 after his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp was shot dead in a toilet in his house. He said he thought there was an intruder in the bathroom.

During the fiercely contested bail application phase, the then investigating officer Warrant Officer Hilton Botha was forced to make several crucial concessions under cross examination by Pistorius’ representative, advocate Barry Roux.

On Thursday, national police commissioner Riah Phiyega announced Botha had been removed as lead investigator in the murder case against Pistorius.

She said the Pistorius investigation would now be handled by a team led by Divisional Commissioner of Detective services, Lieutenant General Vineshkumar Moonoo.

Police had confirmed earlier in the day that seven attempted murder charges were hanging over Botha’s head.

Phiyega said her office was aware of the events involving Botha that happened in 2011.

The charges against Botha were earlier provisionally withdrawn by the NPA.

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