First on EWN: Pistorius cop facing 'drunken' shooting charges

Hilton Botha, the detective leading the Pistorius criminal case, is facing attempted murder charges himself.

The investigating officer in Oscar Pistorius’ criminal case, Hilton Botha, is seen in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on 20 February 2013. Picture: Barry Bateman/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Investigating officer in the Oscar Pistorius criminal case has told Eyewitness News he and two other officers were not drunk or reckless when they shot at the minibus.

The response comes after Eyewitness News exclusively revealed that Botha is facing seven counts of attempted murder.

The charges are related to a shooting incident which occurred while three policemen, including Botha, were allegedly drunk.

Despite this, police management intend keeping him on the high-profile Pistorius investigation.

Botha, the detective leading the police's investigation into Pistorius' fatal shooting of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in Pretoria East last week, and two other officers are due to appear in court in May.

It is alleged the three law enforcement officials were drunk while driving a state vehicle when they opened fire on a mini-bus taxi loaded with passengers. They were arrested in 2011.

Police have confirmed Botha was arrested for the shooting. The charges were initially dropped, but have since been reinstated.

Police spokesperson Neville Malila said "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."

He said Botha was chosen to handle the Pistorius case because he is a seasoned detective and said there were no plans to pull him off the investigation.

"The member is innocent until proven guilty. The member was chosen by the station to do the investigation due to the fact that he is a senior."

Botha faced a tough time on the stand during the second day of Pistorius' bail application in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court on Wednesday.

While giving testimony on his investigation, he was forced to make several crucial concessions.

One of these was admitting that at this stage there was no evidence to show inconsistencies in the version of events the Blade Runner put to the court on Tuesday.

Botha also admitted to contaminating the crime scene.

Malila said Botha's case will not hamper his investigation into the circumstances of the shooting at the athlete's luxury Silver Lakes home on Valentine's Day.

The state and police claim Steenkamp's death was premeditated murder, but Pistorius has denied this, saying he thought he was shooting at an intruder who he believed to be in his bathroom.

Meanwhile, criminal law specialist William Booth said it was too early to tell whether the new revelations will feature in Pistorius' bail application or trial, and whether they could have any impact.

"In any criminal matter, be it a trial or bail hearing, if a witness testifies and it's established he has previous convictions or pending cases, it's a factor which may play a role in respect to his credibility."

Final arguments in the bail application are expected to be heard at 11am on Thursday.