As it happened: Day three of the Oscar Pistorius bail hearing

Key Points

  • The bail hearing of Paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius has been adjourned and will resume for a fourth day in Pretoria, South Africa on Friday
  • The prosecution have been summing up their evidence against Pistorius, claiming he "shot to kill"
  • The athlete denies the premeditated murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
  • The detective leading the inquiry has been replaced after it emerged he is facing allegations of attempted murder
  • Sports firm Nike has confirmed it has suspended its contract with Pistorius
  • All times GMT
  1.  
    1059:

    Welcome to our live page following events at court in Pretoria, in South Africa, as the Paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius returns to find out today if he will be granted bail after being charged with the premeditated murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

     
  2.  
    1103:

    If denied bail, the sprinter could face months in jail before a full trial is held later this year.

     
  3.  
    1105:

    But in an unexpected turn of events, it has emerged Detective Hilton Botha who is leading the murder case against Mr Pistorius is facing seven charges of attempted murder, police have confirmed.

     
  4.  
    1112:

    Detective Botha has given evidence against Mr Pistorius during his bail hearing this week, and is himself scheduled to appear in court in May.

     
  5.  
    1120:

    Mr Pistorius's bail hearing application continues today, but our correspondent Andrew Harding says that with the various delays, we may not get a decision until tomorrow.

     
  6.  
    Piers Morgan

    tweets: Just don't know what to believe in this #Pistorius case. Need more evidence, real hard facts - less rumour

     
  7.  
    1124:

    Mr Pistorius denies the premeditated murder of his Miss Steenkamp, who was 29.

     
  8.  
    1125:

    Yesterday, the magistrate overseeing the hearing appeared to question Det Botha's assertion that Mr Pistorius could be a flight risk and should be denied bail.

     
  9.  
    1125:

    For a flavour of the drama in the Pretoria courtroom have a read of BBC's Andrew Harding's blog.

     
  10.  
    1128:

    So far in Thursday's hearing - which is currently paused for a lunch break - prosecutor Gerrie Nel confirmed to the court that Det Botha was facing seven attempted murder charges.

     
  11.  
    1132:

    To give you an idea of how much attention this court case is attracting, Times journalist Lucy Bannerman from the UK's Times newspaper is saying on Twitter that Prosecutor Gerrie Nel said he would need ten minutes to get through the door as the hearing was adjourned for lunch.

     
  12.  
    Michele McDermottFox

    tweets: The pain of Oscar Pistorius: an extraordinary courtroom photograph | World news | The Guardian - http://bit.ly/YbHBzG | #photography

     
  13.  
    1137:

    Africa producer for BBC News Kate Forbes has just tweeted that Oscar Pistorius's uncle just came out of court looking confident and said: "We're going in the right direction."

     
  14.  
    1140:

    We understand the hearing at Pretoria Magistrates Court is resuming. The defence is continuing to sum up.

     
  15.  
    1141:

    The BBC's Kate Forbes is also reporting that Mr Pistorius's brother and sister have been looking much more upbeat in today's hearing.

     
  16.  
    1143:

    The BBC's Andrew Harding reports that lead defence counsel, Barry Roux, says there is no question that this case will go to trial. "Someone died... The law must take its course," he tells our correspondent.

     
  17.  
    1144:
    Oscar Pistorius

    Find out how Oscar Pistorius, known to many as the "blade runner", rose to prominence on the sporting stage.

     
  18.  
    1147:

    As the bail hearing commences, Mr Pistorius is sitting with his head down and his brow furrowed, the BBC's Kate Forbes says. The athlete has broken down and wept in court in previous days, we have reported.

     
  19.  
    1149:

    Earlier, lead defence counsel Barry Roux addressed the court calling for the charge against Mr Pistorius to be listed as "schedule 5", not the current "schedule 6", which is one of premeditated murder.

     
  20.  
    1149:

    In order for Mr Pistorius to be granted bail, his defence team will have to prove extenuating circumstances - if schedule 6 remains.

     
  21.  
    1150:

    The court is hearing from defence counsel Barry Roux who says it is clear Mr Pistorius was desperate to save Reeva Steenkamp's life due to the fact that he carried her downstairs - the BBC's Andrew Harding tweets.

     
  22.  
    1157: Anna Hume, Athens

    comments: I believe Oscar Pistorius is telling the truth. I have no doubt that he mistook his beloved girlfriend for an intruder and he will have to live with that unbearable thought and guilt all his life.

     
  23.  
    1158:

    "Americans are in for weeks of cricket bat stock images on tabloid front pages while Fox News producers furiously seek more South African crime numbers." South Africa's Mail & Guardian reflects on the international interest in the Pistorius case.

     
  24.  
    1159:

    Mr Roux, for the defence, tells the courtroom it is speculative at best that witnesses claimed to hear arguments from Mr Pistorius home, saying they were too far away. The state is being misleading and desperate, he says.

     
  25.  
    1201:

    Interested to hear more about the revelation leading detective Hilton Botha is already facing seven charges of attempted murder? Listen to BBC Radio 4 Today presenter Evan Davis interviewing Alex Eliseev, a senior reporter at Eyewitness News, who explains how he broke the story.

     
  26.  
    1204:

    US sportswear giant Nike has suspended its contract with the athlete, saying "we believe Oscar Pistorius should be afforded due process and we will continue to monitor the situation closely". Read more about this development.

     
  27.  
    1206:

    In his closing argument, the defence's Barry Roux points out that even Detective Botha has conceded Mr Pistorius's account of events are "plausible".

     
  28.  
    1209: Steve, Bristol

    comments: It's frustrating that the question 'Why did he start shooting before finding out where Reeva was?' hasn't been addressed by the defence.

     
  29.  
    1210:

    We're hearing that the South African Police Service is going to hold a news conference in two hours on the Oscar Pistorius case regarding the Detective Botha debacle - according to ITV's Africa correspondent Rohit Kachroo.

     
  30.  
    1212:

    There is an extraordinary level of detail being given in this bail hearing, reports New York Times journalist Lydia Polgreen from the court. She tweets that it "feels exactly like a trial".

     
  31.  
    1216:
    house

    For more information on where and how the killing happened, and conflicting accounts given so far, look at our clickable map of Mr Pistorius's house and the run-down of evidence.

     
  32.  
    1218:

    Barry Roux, for the defence, is discussing a witness statement that claims screaming was heard the hour before the shooting. He says there were no eyewitnesses so there are lots of possibilities surrounding what happened.

     
  33.  
    1225:

    Magistrate Nair asks whether, in dead of night, Mr Roux thinks a heated argument would be inaudible through an open balcony door? Mr Roux says he would say so, and the state must prove otherwise. The "vagueness" in the state's account is the difficulty, adds Mr Roux.

     
  34.  
    1226: Maria Ashot, London, UK

    emails: The version of events put forth by the accused does not ring true. It is inconsistent with logic and normal human behaviour. Even a disoriented deep sleeper would have become oriented by the time his skin made contact with the carpet, balcony, fresh air and tiles.

     
  35.  
    1228:

    How is South Africa reacting to the court case? The BBC's Pumza Fihlani says the country is in shock and disbelief at the downfall of a national treasure.

     
  36.  
    1230:

    Back to the question of whether Mr Pistorius will be granted bail. Mr Roux for the defence says the idea the athlete might skip bail "does not accord with common sense". He is an internationally known athlete, why would he flee - asks Mr Roux.

     
  37.  
    1232:

    Mr Roux is now moving on to the issue of a bloody bat found at the scene of the shooting. He says there is no possibility the bat could have played any role other than the one that Mr Pistorius put forward, reminding the court Det Botha has conceded the bat was not used to hit Ms Steenkamp.

     
  38.  
    1236:

    Mr Pistorius is slumped forward in dock, overcome by emotion, reports David Smith, Africa correspondent of the UK's Guardian newspaper.

     
  39.  
    1241:

    We're hearing from the BBC's Andrew Harding that the magistrate is calling for an abrupt adjournment of the hearing, mentioning a "threat of some kind" outside courtroom.

     
  40.  
    1245: Mandy, Figueras, Spain

    emails: We should be careful about judgement or condemnation before the case is heard and the facts are known.

     
  41.  
    1251:

    A quick update on the "commotion" outside the bail hearing in Pretoria. Things have settled down and the judge has returned. Barry Roux, for the defence, is continuing with his case for bail, arguing for Mr Pistorius's release in the interests of justice.

     
  42.  
    1257:

    Mr Roux has concluded and is now being questioned by Magistrate Desmond Nair who says the court has heard evidence that Mr Pistorius asked a friend to take the blame for an accidental gunshot fired in restaurant.

     
  43.  
    David Smith Africa correspondent of The Guardian newspaper

    tweets: Roux: It would be "terrible injustice" to use vague, hearsay allegation about restaurant incident against Pistorius.

     
  44.  
    1303:

    Don't miss BBC Radio 4's The World at One programme which is now live on air covering the Oscar Pistorius court hearing.

     
  45.  
    1304:

    The magistrate is questioning defence counsel Mr Roux about Oscar Pistorius's alleged history of threatening behaviour and violent language.

     
  46.  
    1311:

    Asked whether bail would provoke a sense of outrage in the community, Mr Roux, for the defence, says there will be a level of shock if Mr Pistorius is not released.

     
  47.  
    1320:

    Mr Pistorius's former coach in Italy, Andrea Giannini, says he hopes this turns out to be "just a tragic accident". The BBC's reaction page covers all sides of the debate around the case.

     
  48.  
    1331: Sharon, Cornwall

    emails: I'm gutted, loved Oscar, thought he was a real ambassador for sport but just don't know what to believe, at the end of the day poor Reeva is dead and what the family are going through I just cant imagine as a mother myself.

     
  49.  
    1332:

    Prosecutor Gerrie Nel is starting his closing arguments in the bail hearing. Reports suggest it is unlikely the judge will rule on Mr Pistorius's bail application today.

     
  50.  
    1335:

    Mr Nel is summing up the state's argument. Eyewitness News correspondent Barry Bateman tweets that Nel says the defence have "failed to provide any examples of exceptional circumstances" to allow bail to be granted.

     
  51.  
    1337:
    reeva steenkamp

    Reeva Steenkamp, 29, a model and celebrity, moved to Johannesburg six years ago after she was chosen to become the first face of Avon cosmetics in South Africa. "She had an incredible entrepreneurial spirit," her publicist said after her death, as outlined in our profile of Ms Steenkamp.

     
  52.  
    1343:

    According to Guardian correspondent David Smith, prosecutor Mr Nel insists the Paralympic champion "wants to continue with his life as if this incident never happened" and displays a "total lack of insight into the seriousness of what he's done".

     
  53.  
    Andrew Harding Africa correspondent

    tweets: "Nel: Total lack of insight and willingness to take responsibility for his deeds increases #OscarPistorius flight risk."

     
  54.  
    1344: Andrew Harding Africa correspondent

    For the first time, magistrate Mr Nair mentions the potential downgrading of the charge from premeditated murder to culpable homicide. Our correspondent tweets: "Magistrate raises issue of culpable homicide. Is Nel aware of examples of downgrading from murder?"

     
  55.  
    1346:

    The validity of Mr Pistorius's sworn statement, or affidavit, is now coming under scrutiny by the prosecution. Eyewitness News reporter Mandy Weiner tweets that Mr Nel insists the "full affidavit [is] full of lies. The issue with affidavit is that it is untested. No-one can test it".

     
  56.  
    1400:

    Prosecutor Mr Nel says Mr Pistorius's actions were "indicative of a man ready and willing to fire to kill".

     
  57.  

    Eyewitness News correspondent Barry Bateman tweets: "#OscarPistorius Nel: This vulnerable person stormed the danger without his prosthesis."

     
  58.  

    Daniel Howden, the UK Independent newspaper's Africa correspondent tweets: "Nel argues that whether or not #Pistorius knew it was Reeva he went to kill someone. Why did he shoot? He fired to kill"

     
  59.  
    Andrew Harding Africa correspondent

    tweets: "Nel: His version must be 'I wanted to kill someone'. Only reason you fire four shots is to kill. Bound to be convicted of murder."

     
  60.  

    Mr Nel begins his attack on Mr Pistorius's character. According to the court reporters, Mr Nel raises an incident when Mr Pistorius was alleged to have let off a gun in public, but got his friend to take to blame.

     
  61.  
    Breaking News

    The hearing is abruptly adjourned until 08:00 GMT on Friday. Magistrate Desmond Nair explains that administrative reasons of the court are to blame. Mr Pistorius will spend another night in police custody.

     
  62.  
    1414: Andrew Harding Africa correspondent

    The family of Mr Pistorius are filing out of the court, disappointed at the delay. A statement will be issued later. Meanwhile, prosecutor Gerrie Nel says his closing argument will take "not more than an hour" when the hearing resumes on Friday.

     
  63.  
    1421:
    Detective Hilton Botha

    South African police will shortly hold a news conference, with reports suggesting the police will reveal whether Detective Hilton Botha will have any future involvement in the Pistorius case. It was revealed earlier that the officer is facing charges of attempted murder over a shooting in 2011.

     
  64.  
    1430:

    On Wednesday, Det Botha faced some challenging questions from Mr Pistorius's legal team, in which some of his evidence was contradicted. You can read about yesterday's court exchanges here.

     
  65.  
    1435: Daniel, Croydon

    texts: Even if Pistorius is telling the truth, something very wrong about just opening fire on someone you can't see, without shouting a warning, especially when they are in a toilet which is hardly where most intruders head for.

     
  66.  
    1448:

    The South African police news conference is under way in Pretoria.

     
  67.  
    1450:

    A spokeswoman says the police were aware of the charges against Detective Hilton Botha when they were levelled in 2011.

     
  68.  
    1453:
    Police

    A spokeswoman for the South African Police Service is taking questions from journalists.

     
  69.  
    David Smith Africa correspondent of The Guardian newspaper

    tweets: At news conference with national police commissioner Phiyega. "We were aware of the matter that occurred in 2011. It went to court but was withdrawn by the NPA [prosecutors]. We were informed of NPA decision yesterday."

     
  70.  
    1456:

    Mangwashi Phiyega, national police commissioner, says the police will "look at the decision" regarding the attempted murder charges against Det Botha.

     
  71.  
    Breaking News

    Police commissioner Mangwashi Phiyega announces that Hilton Botha has been replaced as lead investigator in the case of Oscar Pistorius after it emerged he was facing attempted murder allegations.

     
  72.  
    1503:

    Phiyega: "Botha has done what he was supposed to do, now we are going into the long haul of the investigation."

     
  73.  
    1504:

    Police commissioner Phiyega says a team of "highly skilled and experienced" detectives will continue with the investigation.

     
  74.  
    1506:

    Commissioner Phiyega announces "South Africa's most senior detective" will take over the running of the Pistorius case.

     
  75.  
    1512:

    The detective now leading the Pistorius case is Lt Gen Vineshkumar Moonoo. He will work alongside the Gauteng commissioner. A new team has been appointed by Commissioner Phiyega, which does not include Det Hilton Botha. He is off the case.

     
  76.  
    1513:

    Guardian correspondent David Smith tweets: "Phiyega: 'We do not lynch people... Officer Botha is still a member of SAPS, he is still working. He is not suspended.'"

     
  77.  
    1520:

    Radio reporter Mia Lindeque tweets: "Phiyega says so far Botha is facing no internal suspension, waiting for the NPA to come back to them."

     
  78.  
    1520:

    Responding to a question from the media regarding the Det Botha situation, Commissioner Phiyega says "there is nothing embarrassing for us, as the police. That is your judgement."

     
  79.  
    1526:

    The South African police news conference is over after being dogged by technical difficulties. Much of the police website (http://www.saps.gov.za/) also appears to have crashed.

     
  80.  
    1536:

    The man taking over the Pistorius investigation, Lt Gen Moonoo, is the divisional commissioner of detective services in South Africa. He will work alongside the divisional commissioner of Gauteng province.

     
  81.  
    1551:

    To recap on another day of revelations in the Pistorius case:

    • The lead detective Hilton Botha has been replaced by South Africa's "top detective" Lt Gen Moonoo, after it was confirmed Det Botha is facing allegations of attempted murder
    • Det Botha has been removed from the case and will play no part in the new team, South Africa's chief of police confirms
    • The hearing in Pretoria will continue into a fourth day, with prosecutor Gerrie Nel continuing to sum up his argument against granting Mr Pistorius bail
    • The defence team have repeatedly argued for the charge of premeditated murder against Mr Pistorius to be downgraded to a "schedule five" offence, meaning it would be more likely the athlete would be granted bail
     
  82.  
    1600:

    This is the end of the BBC live coverage of the third day of Oscar Pistorius bail hearing. The court will reconvene on Friday, where the judge is expected to deliver his decision on whether Mr Pistorius will be freed or will spend the months before his trial in custody. Keep update to date on the latest on the BBC News website, or by watching the BBC News live stream (UK users only).

     

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