Oscar's defence holds nothing back

2013-02-20 22:14
Hilton Botha (Picture: AP)

Hilton Botha (Picture: AP)

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Pretoria - The detective leading the police investigation into Oscar Pistorius's fatal shooting of Reeva Steenkamp offered seemingly confusing testimony on Wednesday.

At one point he conceded that the athlete's version of events could be correct, despite also saying that he believed that Pistorius knew he was shooting his girlfriend.

Testimony by investigating officer Hilton Botha 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 Steenkamp.

However, Botha still poked holes in Pistorius's own account that he feared for his life and opened fire on Valentine's Day after mistaking Steenkamp for an intruder.

In an affidavit on Tuesday, Pistorius told the court he thought he was firing shots at an intruder in the bathroom.

Responding to questions from prosecutor Gerrie Nel in the Pretoria Magistrate's court earlier in the day, Botha said he believed Pistorius knew Steenkamp was in the bathroom and he shot four shots in the bathroom and killed her, Sapa reported.

Later in the day, the defence rounded on Botha.

Lead defence lawyer Barry Roux began by asking Botha if he stood by everything he said earlier on the shooting at Pistorius's house, which led to Pistorius being charged with murder.

Roux had put it to Botha earlier that Pistorius's version of events could be correct.

Pistorius has said he thought there was an intruder in the house then realised it was Steenkamp.

Botha replied: "I can't say because I have not seen all the forensic statements," but conceded that "the applicant's version is consistent with the evidence".

He later said nothing contradicted the police's version either, according to AP.

The defence also said that Botha contaminated the scene while investigating the shooting.

Botha was accused been walking without protected shoe covers in Pistorius's house in Pretoria.

He said he should have worn them, "but they were not around".

Proceedings were adjourned until 11:00 on Thursday.

Commotion

A commotion erupted a bit later along Pretorius Street, when the police moved Pistorius from the court, Sapa reported.

Dozens of photographers were waiting at the exit when two police double cab vehicles sped from the court.

Pistorius was in the second vehicle, with a jacket over his head. The car had black rubber mats on its windows.

Photographers pursued the vehicles from the back exit of the court, along Pretorius Street and into Bosman Street in peak-hour traffic.

They gave up only when the police cars reached Francis Baard Street.

Pistorius will spend a seventh night in police custody.

Meanwhile, the State is confident about its murder case against Pistorius, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said.

Despite Botha's seemingly confusing testimony, NPA spokesperson Medupi Simasiku told reporters in that the investigating officer had not been "discredited" by the defence's examination

"It is normal for the cross-examination to happen like that. We believe that he [Botha] is strong enough to stand that [examination]," said Simasiku.

"The bail application is still on, but as the State we remain confident that we will get what we want. Until tomorrow [when the bail application resumes], the status quo remains the same."

Visit News24's Oscar Pistorius Special Report.

- AP
Read more on:    hilton botha  |  reeva steenkamp  |  oscar pistorius  |  barry roux
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