Police case challenged by Pistorius defence
Oscar Pistorius may learn today whether he is to get bail while facing charges of premeditated murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.
Yesterday, the second day of his bail application hearing, several aspects of the police case came under sustained challenge from his defence team.
The main detective on the case, warrant officer Hilton Botha, was queried about what he described as “two boxes of testosterone, needles and injections” in Mr Pistorius’s bedroom, items the defence says is a “herbal remedy” called testo-composutim co-enzyme, used by many athletes.
“It is not a steroid and it is not a banned substance,” said Barry Roux, Mr Pistorius’s defence lawyer.
Det Botha was also pressed on the distance from the house of a witness, which he changed during testimony from 600m to 300m. Det Botha acknowledged that Mr Pistorius’s legal team had found a spent bullet cartridge in the toilet bowl that his officers did not.
Mr Roux confronted Det Botha, saying: “You were in the house walking with unprotected shoes. That should not happen.” Det Botha conceded that it should not.
Earlier, the state prosecutor opposing the bail application of Pistorius introduced witness evidence that continuous fighting had been heard at the athlete’s home on the morning his lover was shot dead.
State prosecutor Gerrie Nel introduced a range of evidence he contended showed the Paralympic gold medallist was guilty of murdering his model girlfriend.
Although Mr Pistorius (26) has not made an official plea in relation to the premeditated murder charge he faces, he has denied he intentionally killed Ms Steenkamp, who he only started dating late last year, arguing that he thought he was confronting a burglar.
The state is opposing Mr Pistorius’s bail application because it says it believes he is a flight risk. A full trial is not expected to take place for many months.
When it was Mr Nel’s turn to detail why the state opposed bail, he questioned Det Botha, who said: “We have a statement of a person who said after he heard gunshots, he went to his balcony and saw the light was on [in Mr Pistorius’s home]. Then he heard a female screaming two, three times, then more gunshots.”
In his affidavit, Mr Pistorius claimed he had been asleep until only moments before he opened fire on what he believed to be an intruder in the bathroom.
However, Det Botha said his preliminary investigations led him to believe Mr Pistorius knew the victim was in the bathroom when he took his 9mm pistol and put four bullets through the closed door.