The lead detective investigating murder charges against Oscar Pistorius may be dropped from the case after it emerged he himself faces seven attempted murder charges, local media reported.
Hilton Botha “cannot continue with this case,” a spokesman for the National Prosecuting Authority told Eyewitness News.
“If we have an (investigating officer) that's facing such serious charges it cannot happen that he continues with this case, the NPA was quoted as saying.
Police have yet to confirm whether or not Botha has been dropped from the case.
Earlier on Thursday morning police confirmed Botha has seven charges of attempted murder against him.
“Yes. It is one case with seven charges of attempted murder,” said Gauteng police spokesman Brigadier Neville Malila.
He said Botha was first charged back in 2009 but the charges were then provisionally withdrawn. The matter was then referred to the director of public prosecutions (DPP).
“It was only yesterday [Wednesday] that we were informed by the DPP that he is being charged,” he said.
According to Eyewitness News, the charges are related to a shooting incident which occurred while Botha was allegedly drunk.
It is alleged that three policemen, including Botha, were drunk while driving a state vehicle when they opened fire on a minibus taxi loaded with passengers.
The EWN report quoted Malila as saying: “There was a decision taken by the DPP’s office to charge the members, each one of them with seven counts of attempted murder. That was the number of people that were in the taxi.”
The detective and two other officers are due to appear in court in May, EWN said. - Sapa, IOL, AFP
* We have edited this story to reflect the latest information available to us.