A South African policeman testified on the second day of a bail hearing that testosterone and needles were found at the home of Oscar Pistorius, the double-amputee track star accused of killing his girlfriend on Valentine’s Day.
Pistorius was not directly accused of using testosterone, but his lawyer challenged that and other points of the investigation, contending in the Pretoria, South Africa, courtroom that the substance was an herbal supplement that is not banned by any doping agency.
Later, a spokesman for South Africa’s National Prosecution Agency told the Associated Press that it was too early to identify the substance, which was still being tested. “It is not certain [what it is] until the forensics.” Medupe Simasiku said, adding that it wasn’t certain if it was “a legal or an illegal medication for now.”
The third day of hearings since Pistorius was arrested in the early-morning hours last Thursday brought allegations about Pistorius’s lifestyle and outbursts from family, friends and supporters in the courtroom, as well as allegations that the investigation had been bungled. Pistorius, 26, is charged with the premeditated murder of Reeva Steenkamp, 29, and final arguments on bail are expected to be wrapped up Thursday.
Detective Warrant Officer Hilton Botha testified that two boxes of testosterone and needles were recovered in a search of Pistorius’s home in a gated community after Steenkamp was shot to death through the locked door of a bathroom. However Barry Roux, Pistorius’s lawyer, said the substance is an “herbal remedy” called testo-composutim co-enzyme that is used by many athletes. “It is not a steroid,” Roux said (via the Guardian), “and it is not a banned substance.”
Nor did Pistorius fail a drug test; the International Paralympic Committee said that Pistorius, who was competing in the Paralympics and London Olympics, had negative test results last Aug. 25 and Sept. 8.
Botha testified that Pistorius, a gun enthusiast who has said he kept a gun by his bedside, talked a friend into taking responsibility after he accidentally fired a weapon at a restaurant in January. In a 2009 incident, Botha said that an unidentified woman had accused Pistorius of assault but her claim could not be proved. Botha was the officer who investigated that alleged incident.
On Tuesday, in an affidavit read in court, Pistorius had told his version of the shooting, and Botha testified Wednesday that police had found nothing inconsistent with his description of the shooting. Other issues remain unresolved and will continue to be debated. Did neighbors overhear an argument — “nonstop talking, like fighting” from 2 to 3 a.m.? Was Pistorius wearing his prosthetic legs at the time of the shooting? The Guardian notes that:
[T]he prosecution has claimed the killing was premeditated because Pistorius took time to put on his prosthetic legs first. Botha supported this view, saying the trajectory of the bullets showed the gun was fired from a height. “It seems to me it was fired down,” he said.
Prosecutor Gerrie Nel projected a plan of the bedroom and bathroom on to a white screen in the court and argued Pistorius had to walk past his bed to get to the bathroom and could not have done so without realising Steenkamp was not in the bed. “There’s no other way of getting there,” Nel said.
Botha said the holster for the 9mm pistol was found under the side of the bed on which Steenkamp slept, also implying it would have been impossible for Pistorius to get the gun without realising that Steenkamp was not in the bed and could have been the person in the bathroom. Pistorius has claimed that the bedroom was pitch dark.
As the hearing went on, Carl Pistorius moved to sit beside the defense team. “I feel like the court proceedings went well today,” Carl Pistorius said after the hearing (via the Guardian). “We trust that everyone has more clarity about this tragic incident.”