A former police officer working on the Oscar Pistorius murder investigation is suspected of leaking pictures of the crime scene to Sky News.
The British broadcaster showed photos of the Paralympian athlete’s bloodied bathroom this week – a few days before Pistorius was scheduled to appear in court.
His murder case will be postponed to later this year when he appears in the Pretoria Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.
City Press understands that the authorities suspect that a police officer who had access to Pistorius’ Pretoria mansion took the pictures and leaked them to Sky News.
The first investigating team was removed and replaced by a much more senior team of detectives after the athlete’s bail hearing in February.
“The pictures definitely don’t come from the police docket. It will not hurt the state’s case,” said a source close to the investigation.
The behaviour of Hilton Botha, the former investigating officer in the case, bothers police, City Press was told. He has spoken to You magazine and Vanity Fair since he resigned from the police.
Botha has denied receiving payment for these interviews.
He couldn’t be reached for comment.
Forensic expert Dr David Klatzow has criticised the police for removing the bathroom door behind which Reeva Steenkamp, Pistorius’ girlfriend of three months, was shot and killed on Valentine’s Day.
The door is the central piece of evidence in the case, according to Klatzow.
On Friday, Sky News showed footage of the bloodied crime scene, including blood splatters on a couch and the floor.
Pistorius will argue in court that he thought an intruder was hiding behind the locked toilet door. The state argues he shot Steenkamp through the door after a heated argument.
“The trajectory of the bullet through the door will determine whose version is correct,” said Klatzow.
“It is best to analyse pieces of evidence in the context of the murder scene. By removing it, the door could have been damaged or lost.”
The police forensic team removed the door four days after the shooting to safeguard it as a crucial piece of evidence.
Days later, it was returned to Pistorius’ house for his defence team to conduct their own forensic testing.
Klatzow closely analysed the footage that was broadcast on Sky News.
He says it appears the bullets were fired on a downward trajectory.
This fits in with the state’s version of events, that Pistorius had his prosthetic legs strapped on during the shooting incident.
His legal team will argue that the athlete shot at the “intruder” without wearing his prosthetic legs.
Klatzow believes the Sky footage shows the photographer himself in a reflection on the shower window.
Klatzow says it looks like a man in shorts and running shoes.
Police spokesperson Phuti Setati said they were not investigating someone specific at the moment.
But the police are looking into the leak and if they can determine that somebody had broken the law, they will charge that individual.
“Oscar Pistorius’ right to a fair trial should be respected. Reeva Steenkamp’s parents must also be respected,” said Setati.
“We don’t know where the pictures came from, who leaked them or what they wanted to achieve. But nothing will jeopardise our investigation.”
Setati did not want to comment on the content of Botha’s magazine interviews.