Suddenly, Case Against Pistorius Looks a Little Shaky

Lead detective admits mistakes under tough questioning

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 20, 2013 7:30 PM CST
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(Newser) – Oscar Pistorius will likely learn tomorrow whether he will be released on bail, and what seemed like a certain "no" a few days ago is anything but certain now. The AP says the case against the double-amputee Olympian "began to unravel" today as the athlete's attorney picked apart the lead detective's work. One big example: Detective Hilton Botha claimed he found testosterone in Pistorius' room, but he admitted on cross-examination that he couldn't be sure what it was. Later, the prosecutors' office said Botha misspoke initially because forensics tests haven't been completed. (Pistorius has said the substance was some kind of an herbal remedy.)

Botha also gave two different estimates about how far away a key witness was when screams were heard—it was 600 yards at first, then half that later, reports the Guardian. He acknowledged overlooking a bullet in a toilet, walking through the scene with unprotected shoes, and generally not having any evidence to contradict Pistorius' claim that he shot girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp because he mistook her for a burglar. "Pistorius looked more calm and composed than at any point so far, while the smiles on his family's faces suggested that they felt momentum was shifting his way," writes David Smith in the Guardian. The Telegraph has point-by-point examples of the police case getting picked apart, including the fact that an autopsy showed Steenkamp's bladder to be empty. That would back up the defense's claim that she wasn't in the bathroom to hide, but because she had used the toilet.

Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius stands inside court in Pretoria, South Africa, on Tuesday.
Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius stands inside court in Pretoria, South Africa, on Tuesday.   (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
Investigating officer Hilton Botha.
Investigating officer Hilton Botha.   (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
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