In a fascinating new twist to the Oscar Pistorius murder case, South Africa’s National Commissioner Riah Phiyega has appointed Lt. Gen. Vinesh Moonoo, Pretoria’s top detective as the new lead investigator in lieu of Hilton Botha. This announcement comes ahead of a judge’s decision on whether to release Pistorius on bail. This comes as one more blow to the prosecution’s case against the Olympian.
Police made this sensational announcement as Pistorius arrived for a third day of the bail hearing over the Valentine’s Day shooting of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, which prosecutors say was a premeditated killing while the defendants argue that it was an accident.
The decision to replace Hilton Botha with police Lt. Gen. Vinesh Moonoo in command came a day after he offered testimony damaging to the prosecution. Furthermore, word emerged that Hilton Botha, the first chief investigator himself is currently facing attempted murder charges in a 2011 shooting incident, when he and two other police officers allegedly fired shots at a minibus. Seven counts of attempted murder have been reinstated against them.
Bulewa Makeke, the spokeswoman for South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority, said the charge against Botha was initially dropped “because there was not enough evidence at the time.” However, after Botha testified in Pistorius’ bail hearing on Wednesday, the police reinstated attempted murder charges against Botha and two other police officers because of more gathered evidence.
National Commissioner Riah Phiyega says the Pistorius case “shall receive attention at the national level” and Vinesh Moonoo will “gather a team of highly skilled experienced detectives.”
- Top Detective Appointed New Pistorius Investigator (abcnews.go.com)
- South Africa Police: Pistorius Detective Faces Charges (world.time.com)
- Hilton Botha, Oscar Pistorius Investigator, Faces Attempted Murder Charges: South African Police (huffingtonpost.com)
- Pistorius detective taken off case (guardian.co.uk)
- Pistorius detective facing attempted murder charges (nbcsports.msnbc.com)
- News: Affidavit of Oscar Pistorius to Court (in Full) (tvaraj.com)
- ‘Blade Runner’ Oscar Pistorius Charged with Murder of His Girlfriend(tvaraj.com)
- Oscar Pistorius and the Bloodied Cricket Bat in His Bedroom (tvaraj.com)
- Ellie May Challis vs Oscar ‘Blade Runner’ Pistorius (tvaraj.com)