The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

February 21, 2013

Prosecutors: Pistorius top cop should be dropped

(Continued)

She emphasized that it is a decision for police and not prosecutors whether to take Botha off the Pistorius case, one that has riveted the world's attention and is bringing scrutiny on South Africa's justice system.

"Is he going to be dropped from the case? I don't know. I think the right thing would be for him to be dropped," Makeke said outside Pretoria Magistrate's Court shortly before Pistorius' bail hearing went into a third day. "Obviously there will be consultations between the two (police and prosecutors) to determine what is the best course of action."

Pistorius' main sponsor Nike, meanwhile, suspended its contract with the Paralympic champion, following eyewear manufacturer Oakley's decision to suspend its sponsorship Monday. Nike said in a brief statement on its website: "We believe Oscar Pistorius should be afforded due process and we will continue to monitor the situation closely."

Botha was summoned by the magistrate at the start of Thursday's proceedings. Pistorius' bail hearing began on Tuesday and is already running behind schedule, with it expected to have been completed on Wednesday.

Chief Magistrate Desmond Nair asked the defense: "Do you think there will be some level of shock if the accused is released?"

Defense lawyer Barry Roux responded: "I think there will be a level of shock in this country if he is not released."

Earlier Thursday, Nair questioned Botha over delays in processing records from phones found in Pistorius' house following the killing of Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model and budding reality TV contestant.

"It seems to me like there was a lack of urgency," Nair said as the efficiency of the police investigation was again questioned after Botha conceded to a string of blunders on the second day of the hearing.

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