Lead Investigator Offers Bizarre Testimony During Oscar Pistorius' Bail Hearing

Tyler ConwayFeatured ColumnistFebruary 20, 2013

Aug 29, 2011; Daegu, SOUTH KOREA; Double amputee Oscar Pistorius (RSA) in a 400m semifinal in the evening session of Day 3 of the 2011 IAAF World Championships in Athletics at Daegu Stadium. From right: Greg Nixon (USA), Pistorius, Jermaine Gonzales (JAM), Rondell Bartholomew (GRN) and Jonathan Borlee (BEL). Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The case against South African Paralympian sprinter Oscar Pistorius has taken yet another strange turn, as the lead investigator offered up contradictory statements in a bail hearing on Wednesday.


UPDATE: Thursday, Feb. 21, at 10:50 a.m. ET by Brandon Galvin

The lead investigator in the Oscar Pistorius case has been replaced in light of the details that surfaced yesterday, according to ESPN's Staff via the Associated Press.

South Africa's police head has appointed its top detective as the new lead investigator in the Oscar Pistorius murder case.

The decision came after it emerged the initial investigator, Hilton Botha, was facing attempted murder charges.

National Commissioner Riah Phiyega says Lt. Gen. Vinesh Moonoo will take over the investigation.

---End of update---


UPDATE: Thursday, Feb. 21, at 12:48 a.m. ET by Ethan Grant

More details have emerged in the strange and twisting story that involves Hilton Botha and his role in Pistorius' murder trial.

According to a report from the Associated Press, South African police have confirmed that Botha faces murder charges stemming from an October 2011 shooting, in which he and two fellow officers fired shots while trying to stop a mini-van.

It's the latest shocking detail to emerge from what's turning into a nightmare for both Pistorius and the South African government. We'll continue to keep you updated on Botha's role in this scandal and what these revelations mean for the Paralympian's murder trial going forward.

---End of Update---


According to an ESPN report, Detective Warrant Officer Hilton Botha contradicted himself on multiple occasions while testifying. Most notable among those contradictions involved an eyewitness who purportedly heard Pistorius and his girlfriend arguing just hours before her death. 


When cross-examined by Pistorius' attorneys, Botha testified that the witness was more than four blocks away from the Paralympian's home, per ESPN:

However, Botha later said under cross-examination that the person who overheard the argument was in a house more than 650 yards from where the shooting occurred—or more than 2,000 feet or four city blocks away—in Pistorius' gated community in the suburbs of South Africa's capital, Pretoria.

Though Botha would later clarify his statements and say the witness was actually closer than he initially estimated, his testimony left far more questions than answers. Botha was corrected when testifying that police found steroids in Pistorius' room, with prosecutors claiming the substance was merely testosterone.

Pistorius' attorney, Barry Roux, later said that the prosecution was trying to paint a dark picture of his client and that the found substance was an "herbal remedy."

The contradictory statements and conflicting arguments will undoubtedly make the South African prosecutors' job much more difficult in the coming days and weeks.


Pistorius has been charged with premeditated murder after shooting and killing his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. The incident happened in the wee hours of Valentine's Day morning, with Pistorius claiming to have mistaken Steenkamp for an intruder.

A six-time Paralympic gold medalist, Pistorius made history in 2012, becoming the first Paralympian to compete in the Olympic Games. His story was inspirational to many and came as a source of derision as more facts came out about the case. 

Police investigating the crime did not believe Pistorius' side of the events, claiming that he purposely fired shots at Steenkamp through a bathroom door. While Pistorius' fate will ultimately be decided in a court of law, Botha's testimony on Wednesday will do little to quell the questions surrounding this tragic case.