Investigator in Pistorius' case faces murder charges
Battling embarrassment in the glare of a global media spotlight, they named the nation's most senior detective to take over, as preliminary hearings to decide whether the Olympic and Paralympic star can go free on bail were adjourned until Friday.
Hilton Botha, the initial lead investigator had already faced a torrid time over his evidence from defense counsel this week, and police commissioner Riah Phiyega said he might become distracted by the charges relating to the bus shooting in 2011.
"From this point forward, I will take over," Lieutenant General Vinesh Moonoo told Reuters. A 32-year veteran of the force, he added: "It will not affect the court proceedings."
Charges against Warrant Office Botha over the taxi minibus shooting had been dropped but the National Prosecuting Authority told Reuters they were reinstated on February 4 - 10 days before Pistorius shot girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in his Pretoria home.
"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," NPA spokesman Medupe Simasiku told Reuters. "It's completely unrelated to this trial."
It is not clear whether the dismissal of Botha would affect the athlete's chances of securing release from custody pending his trial. After a fourth day of bail hearings, the judge said the court would sit again on the matter on Friday.
At the time of the shooting in 2011, Botha was chasing a man accused of murdering a woman and disposing of her dismembered body down a drain, local media said.
Pistorius, who was born without bones in his lower legs and runs on carbon-fiber racing blades, faces life in prison if convicted of the premeditated murder of Steenkamp in the early hours of Valentine's Day. He denies murder and his lawyers say he opened fire with a pistol at what he thought was a burglar.
Sportswear giant Nike froze its endorsement contract with Pistorius on Thursday saying the athlete should be "afforded due process".
Other companies with sponsorship deals, including British telecoms firm BT, U.S. sunglasses maker Oakley and French designer Thierry Mugler, have declined to comment on their contracts while the bail hearing is continuing.
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Date 18-05-13, Duration 3:40, Views 359