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Court makes no ruling on Pistorius bail application on third day of hearing


08:17, February 22, 2013

PRETORIA, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- The Pretoria Magistrate's Court on Thursday postponed ruling on paralympian Oscar Pistorius bail application to Friday, saying more argument was needed.

During the grilling hearing on Thursday, prosecutor Gerrie Nel argued that Pistorius had failed to provide exceptional circumstances why he should be granted bail.

Pistorius is facing charges of murdering his girl friend Reeva Steenkamp on February 14, a crime for which bail is granted only under exceptional circumstances.

The double amputee denies the charge, saying he shot Steenkamp, mistaking her for a burglar.

Nel said no court would ever accept that Pistorius acted in self-defence.

Pistorius lawyer Barry Roux blasted the State's murder case against the athlete, saying there was no evidence of the pre- meditated murder of Steenkamp as alleged by the State, and that it was not mentioned on the charge sheet at all. Roux called the police investigation "poor".

Nel argued that Pistorius would flee once being granted bail, saying Pistorius had not offered to give up his passport, but had said he would if it was a condition of bail.

"We say there is nothing exceptional in this person's application. He's a man of means," Nel said. "He never said to this court: 'I'm not going anywhere'."

Roux denied the allegation, saying Pistorius, once granted bail, would not flee the country.

In a related development on Thursday, National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega appointed the country's "top detective" Lieutenant General Vinesh Moonoo as the new lead investigator in Pistorius' murder case.

Moonoo replaces initial investigator, Hilton Botha, who was facing attempted murder charges himself.

During the dramatic day of hearing, the court heard that Botha was also charged with attempted murder.

Botha is facing seven charges of attempted murder for allegedly firing shots at a minibus taxi carrying seven occupants. Botha allegedly was drunk at the time of the incident.

Botha told the court that the incident, which took place in December 2011, was as a result of his investigation into another murder case.

He said he fired shots at the taxi after it "tried to push us off the road" during a pursue of a murder suspect.

The matter was on the court roll until March 2012. It was then withdrawn, but was reinstated on Wednesday.

Botha said: "I don't understand why the case was reinstated. I can only think this is linked to my work on Oscar Pistorius."

Botha testified at the Pretoria Magistrate's Court on Wednesday in Pistorius's bail hearing, insisting that Pistorius knew he was firing at his girlfriend Steenkamp the night she was killed in his house.

The policeman also testified that they have found a box of the male hormone testosterone and hypodermic needles at Pistorius's home.

Pistorius' lawyer rejected the allegations.

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