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Pistorius: No police, NPA ‘conflict’

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IOL oscar feb 22

Reuters

Oscar Pistorius at the Pretoria Magistrates Court. He was released on bail. Photo: Siphiwe Sibeko

Pretoria - There was no conflict between the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the police over the bail hearing of murder accused paralympian Oscar Pistorius, Justice Minister Jeff Radebe said on Sunday.

“I'm not aware of a conflict between the NPA and the police regarding the matter of the bail hearing of Oscar Pistorius,” he told a media briefing in Pretoria.

Responding to a question, he said he was aware that the original lead investigator - detective Hilton Botha - had been “removed” by police national commissioner General Riah Phiyega.

Radebe confirmed what the NPA said last week on the matter - that attempted murder charges against Botha, who is accused of firing at a taxi carrying seven passengers during an incident in 2011 - were reinstated “on 4 February, 10 days before that tragic occurrence”.

Pistorius stands accused of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in the bathroom of his home on February 14. He is currently out on bail.

Radebe said the two cases were “separate altogether”.

“I have not discerned any conflict between the NPA and the police; in fact, they always work as a team,” he said.

The revelation last week that Botha was facing attempted murder charges caused a national and international media storm. The officer was pulled off the case during the third day of Pistorius' bail hearing.

Phiyega told reporters at the time that Botha would be replaced by “the most senior detective” in the force, Lt-Gen Vineshkumar Moonoo.

On Sunday, Radebe said questions regarding the Pistorius case would not be answered at the briefing.

“This press conference was called to look at issues emanating from the state-of-the-nation address by (President Jacob Zuma).

“So, I'm issuing orders that the questions (regarding the case of)Oscar Pistorius will not be answered in this press conference.” - Sapa


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