South African police have appointed a new lead investigator in the premeditated murder case against Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius, after the reinstatement of attempted murder charges against the previous lead detective pushed the case into turmoil.
The announcement that detective Hilton Botha faces reinstated charges in connection with a 2011 shooting incident came a day after he testified for the prosecution in Pistorius' bail hearing, and by all accounts bungled his appearance. He acknowledged Wednesday that nothing in Pistorius' account of the fatal Valentine's Day shooting of his girlfriend contradicted what police had discovered.
The police decision to replace him as lead investigator came after the spokeswoman for the nation's prosecutors urged that he be removed from the case.
Bulewa Makeke, spokeswoman for South Africa's National Prosecuting Authority, acknowledged Thursday that the timing of the attempted murder charges is "totally weird" but said Botha should be dropped from the case against the world-famous athlete. However Makeke said the charges against Botha were reinstated against Botha on Feb. 4, before his testimony Wednesday and even before Steenkamp was killed. Police said they were notified Wednesday of the reinstated charges which stem from a 2011 shooting incident in which Botha and two other officers allegedly fired at a minibus.
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