Oscar Pistorius, Hilton Botha

STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP/Getty Images, Splash News

UPDATE: The New York Daily News reports that Botha has been yanked off the Pistorius case in the wake of prosecutors reinstating attempted murder charges against him.


It's a bizarre turn of events for Oscar Pistorius .

Hilton Botha—the lead investigator in the Reeva Steenkamp killing who at the track star's bail hearing Wednesday offered up dramatic testimony for the prosecution only to wilt under cross-examination—is himself facing charges of attempted murder related to a year-and-a-half old case.

The revelation surfaced, per The Guardian, when Pistorius' chief prosecutor, Gerrie Nel, kicked off today's proceedings by acknowledging Botha's own suddenly precarious legal situation, saying prosecutors were unaware the charges had been reinstated. When the top cop was led into the courtroom, Nel even joked at one point, "There goes my case."

South African media reports say the charges stem from an October 2011 incident when the detective and two other police officers allegedly opened fire on a minivan carrying seven people as they were chasing a murder suspect.

The seven attempted murder charges were initially dropped, but the National Prosecuting Authority said the decision to reinstate them came about on Feb. 4, 10 days before the double-amputee sprinter known around the world as "Blade Runner" allegedly shot his girlfriend to death.

Consequently, the agency is now urging police to remove Botha from the Pistorius case, a decision that rests exclusively with law enforcement.

"If we have an investigating officer that's facing such serious charges, it cannot happen that he continues with this case," NPA spokesman Bulelwa Makeke told Pretoria's Eye Witness News.

Police Brig. Neville Malila added that Botha was assigned the Pistorius case because of his experience.

However, given the victory Botha handed Pistorius yesterday, prosecutors have good reason to hope police change their mind.

During his time on the stand, the Olympian's defense attorney poked major holes in the officer's allegations that detectives found boxes of testosterone in Pistorius' bedroom and accused him of shoddy police work. Botha also admitted that investigators do not have evidence contradicting the version of events the athlete laid out in an affidavit.

(Originally published on Feb. 21, 2013, at 7:32 a.m. PT)

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