49 cellphones confiscated for shooting Oscar Pistorius pictures
49 cellphones were confiscated from South African police officers who had taken pictures of the famed Olympic athlete. Of the 49, four were 'official' phones and the rest were private cellphones.
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South Africa's ministry of police declined to give further details on the cellphone photos and any possible disciplinary action against police officers, but the sensational Pistorius case has already cast doubts on the professionalism of South Africa's force.Skip to next paragraph
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The same former lead investigating officer, Botha, gave shaky evidence in court during Pistorius' bail hearing and it later emerged that Botha himself was facing seven charges of attempted murder. Botha was removed from the case and later resigned from the South African police.
Botha told the AP on Tuesday that when he was working the case, he had arranged for the toilet door to be taken from Pistorius' house and moved to Boschkop station after another officer told him she had been offered money to provide photographs of it to the media. The officer named by Botha couldn't immediately be reached for comment.
Botha did not name the media company or say how much money was offered, but said he was told that the offer was from an international media house and was "in dollars." Botha said he had learned that South African reporters were also trying to buy photographs of evidence and the crime scene from police.
South Africa's Star newspaper quoted Botha as telling it there was an offer of $50,000 for a photograph of the toilet door.
Two days after the shooting, the door was "sealed in a body bag" and moved to the office at Boschkop police station, Botha told The AP. It was later taken to a police evidence center by the investigating officer who replaced Botha, the former detective said.
No police officers have been implicated in any selling of pictures to reporters.
Despite the intense public interest in Pistorius, only one image of the double-amputee runner has emerged since he was freed on bail on Feb. 22. The photograph, also a cellphone photo but taken by a high school student, shows Pistorius wearing running gear and walking on his famous carbon fiber running blades when he visited his practice track at the University of Pretoria last month.
Pistorius won an appeal against some of his strict bail restrictions and has been more active recently while awaiting trial for Steenkamp's killing. His family said last week that he had been spending time with people close to his late girlfriend.
Pistorius was charged with murder in Steenkamp's shooting. He denies murder and says he shot her accidentally through a door inside his bathroom after mistaking her for a nighttime intruder. His next court appearance is June 4.