- (Photo: Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko)
The lead detective investigating the murder case involving Oscar Pistorius was facing murder charges of his own after charges stemming from a 2011 shooting incident were reinstated.
Detective Hilton Botha was charged with attempted murder following an incident in 2011 when he was accused of firing several shots at a minibus that was packed with riders. Botha is scheduled to appear in court in May, according to a statement given by police spokesman Brigadier Neville Malila.
"Botha and two other policemen allegedly tried to stop a minibus taxi with seven people. They fired shots," Malila read in the statement.
Reports indicate that Botha, a decorated veteran with 24 years on the force, was pursuing a murder suspect and was involved in the shooting during the pursuit.
The charges had been previously dropped, but they were reinstated just over a week before Reeva Steenkamp was fatally shot, according to the National Prosecuting Authority.
"The decision to reinstate was taken on February 4, way before the issue of Pistorius came to light or the murder of Reeva was committed," Medupe Simasiku, NPA spokesman, told Reuters. "It's completely unrelated to this trial."
The defense has asked that Botha be removed from the investigation, but no action will be taken until an internal disciplinary investigation is conducted. Simasiku did add that at this point there were no indications that Botha would be taken off the Pistorius case.
Oscar Pistorius was charged with murdering his girlfriend at his home in Pretoria, South Africa. Pistorius came to fame at the 2012 Olympics when he won three medals in the Paralympic Games in London.
Local reports indicate that his Reeva Steenkamp was planning a Valentine's Day surprise and was allegedly mistakenly shot by Pistorius when she entered his home, according to CNN.
"We are all devastated," Steenkamp's agent told Reuters. "Her family is in shock. They did have a good relationship. Nobody actually knows what happened."