The Head of the South African Police on Thursday appointed a new lead investigator into the shooting of Reeva Steenkamp, the late girlfriend of Paralympic gold medallist, Oscar Pistorious. The change was sequel to a new twist that emerged on Thursday in the premeditated murder charge filed against the athlete, who was accused of murdering his girlfriend on February 14. South Africa’s National Commissioner, Riah Phiyega announced that Lt Gen. Vinesh Moonoo will take over the investigation. According to her, Moonoo is South African police’s “top detective”.
The court was on Thursday told that Hilton Botha, the officer investigating Pistorious is himself facing seven charges of attempted murder. The lead detective and two other policemen allegedly shot at passengers in a mini-bus taxi back in 2011 in an attempt to stop the vehicle. The officers were allegedly drunk at the time of the incident.
Though the charges were dropped then, they have been reinstated and he will be in court in May. Botha who has since been withdrawn from the case said the allegations cropped up because he is investigating “this case”, referring to the premeditated murder case.
At the hearing of the bail application on Thursday, Defence lawyers to the court that movement of Ms Steenkamp’s body downstairs by her boyfriend showed that he made efforts to save her life. “He was desperate to save her life”, the court heard.
The Defence Attorney also stated that the Investigating Officer’s testimony was designed to bolster the state’s case.
Gerrie Nel, the prosecuting lawyer said “the applicant’s action of firing without any indication of a threat are totally improbable”. He also told the court, while citing an instance where the athlete allegedly shot at a public place sometime ago, that its not disputed that Oscar Pistorius discharged a firearm in a public place and got someone else to take the blame, that’s the real person, he said.
The application for bail has again been adjourned till 10 am on Friday.
Meanwhile, Nike, a sports equipment manufacturing company has suspended its contract with Pistorius.