South African police tapped a top detective to take over the bungled Oscar Pistorius investigation Thursday after it emerged the officer assigned to the case faces attempted murder charges.
"We recognise the significance, the importance and the severity of the matter,"
commissioner of the South African Police Service (SAPS) Mangwashi 'Riah' Phiyega said.
She assigned the case to top-ranking detective lieutenant general Vineshkumar Moonoo.
"He is the most senior detective in the SAPS environment. This matter will receive attention at the national level."
The Pistorius prosecution has been severely undermined by revelations that Hilton Botha, the original case officer, has to answer seven attempted murder charges for shooting at a minibus taxi in 2011.
The revelation overshadowed Pistorius's bail hearing on Thursday, undermining the man who had been the key to the prosecution's allegation of premeditated murder. "We were only informed yesterday that attempted murder charges against Hilton Botha have been reinstated," police spokesman Neville Malila said.
It was the final straw for Botha, whose testimony was repeatedly challenged by defence attorneys. As the controversy over the police investigation swirled, Botha admitted on the witness stand: "I'm sure it could have been handled better."
Court updates on website
Johannesburg: Pistorius' family has devoted his official website to updates about his bail hearing and messages of support, his PR agency said Thursday.
"We will issue at least two statements a day, in order to provide the media with the freshest news, taking into account the time differences," said Janine Hills, the chief executive of Vuma corporate reputation management.