Hilton Botha, the lead investigator in the premeditated murder case playing out in South Africa against Olympian Oscar Pistorius, is facing attempted murder charges of his own. The charges stem from a 2011 police shooting according to a Feb. 21 report on USA Today.
This damaging blow for the prosecution comes as charges which were dropped following the shooting were reinstated on Wednesday. Prosecutors were unaware of the charges which came as the result of Botha and two other officers firing shots to stop a minivan they were in pursuit of. He faces seven counts of attempted murder and is scheduled to appear in May.
Botha was a key witness in the prosecution’s case against Pistorius who is charged with the premeditated murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. The investigator testified as to why the double-amputee should not receive bail in relation to the Valentine’s Day shooting.
South Africa’s National Prosecuting authority has called the timing of the charges “totally weird” and recommends that Botha be removed from the Pistorius case. NPA spokeswoman Bulewa Makeke says the decision to remove him is up to the police however.
Botha’s testimony against Pistorius was sometimes confused. He even conceded at one point that the police version and Pistorius’ account of events do not necessarily contradict one another.
In another surprise turn of events, Botha was also the lead investigator in a 2009 assault claim against Pistorius. At that time the athlete was arrested and detained overnight. A lawsuit for wrongful arrest is being considered by Pistorius’ lawyers.
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