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Lead investigator in Pistorius case facing attempted murder charges

The lead investigator in the Oscar Pistorius murder case has been charged with attempted murder, according to South African police. On the third day of bail hearings, the defense is seeking to discredit police action.

Police confirmed on Thursday that lead investigator Hilton Botha would appear in court in May on seven charges of attempted murder.

A spokesman said that Botha and two other police officers had fired shots when they tried to stop a mini-van carrying seven passengers in October 2009. According to the South African news agency SAPA, the attempted murder charge had previously been withdrawn, but was reinstated on Wednesday, the day Botha testified in court.

The lead investigator testified in court on Wednesday, on the second day of proceedings to determine whether Oscar Pistorius could be granted bail.

Botha said that he believed Pistorius posed a possible flight risk if given bail, having both offshore accounts and a home in Italy.

The investigator also said there was no evidence verifying the Paralympian's claim that he had killed Steenkamp accidentally.

The 26-year-old double amputee shot and killed his girlfriend on February 14 and now faces charges of premeditated murder. His defense has claimed Pistorius had mistaken Steenkamp for an intruder.#video#

Botha challenged this statement in court on Wednesday, saying that "nonstop shouting" had been heard coming from Pistorius' house on February 14 prior to the shooting, suggesting an argument had taken place.

The investigator also claimed that police had found testosterone and needles in the athlete's bedroom.

Synthetic testosterone is banned by the International Olympic Committee.

In the cross-examination the defense accused Botha of having contaminated the crime scene, misrepresenting witnesses' statements and of being responsible for oversights in the intitial investigations.

Pistorius - whose defense team said the substance was an herbal remedy - became the first Paralympian runner ever to run in the Olympic Games in London last year.

Pistorius, who denies the charge of premeditated murder, arrived in court for a third day of bail hearing in the Pretoria Magistrate Court for the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on February 14.

If convicted he faces a life sentence.

rg/pfd (AFP, AP, Reuters)