'No decision' yet to drop Pistorius detective after murder charges emerge

PRETORIA (AFP) - South African police said on Thursday they have not yet decided whether to drop the lead detective investigating murder charges against Oscar Pistorius, after it emerged that he himself is facing seven attempted murder charges.

Local media had earlier reported that the National Prosecution Authority wanted Hilton Botha to be removed from the case.

Botha "cannot continue with this case," a spokesman for the National Prosecuting Authority told Eyewitness News.

But police spokesman Neville Malila told AFP: "We didn't make a decision on that. For now he is still on the case." Malila indicated that Botha would not be the final investigator in the case, and that this decision was made two days before the police were informed that Botha's attempted murder case had been revived.

Botha did not appear in court on Thursday. He was on standby when he was assigned to the Pistorius case in the early hours of Valentine's Day, and as such sat through the investigations and prepared the docket for the bail hearing.

Mr Malila said the first detective on a crime scene does not necessarily become the final lead investigator.

"We haven't assigned final investigators," he said, adding "the team of lead investigators will come from our provincial investigative unit."

Botha was in 2011 charged with seven counts of attempted murder after he and two workmates allegedly opened fired on the tyres of a mini-van which had seven passengers. The case was dropped.

It wasn't clear when a prosecutor in northern Mpumalanga decided to retrieve the case. The police were informed of the decision on Wednesday afternoon.

Botha told a local television, e-News Central Africa (eNCA) that "I don't understand why (the) case was reinstated (on Wednesday). I can only think this is linked to my work on Oscar Pistorius."

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