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Oscar Pistorius © Reuters Images

'No exceptional circumstances for bail'



Murder-accused Paralympian Oscar Pistorius had failed to provide exceptional circumstances why he should be granted bail, prosecutor Gerrie Nel said in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court on Thursday.

He was "astonished" that two parties could have such different arguments with the same facts.

He said: "[It was] murder of a defenceless woman in a 1.4m by 1.4m room."

If the State accepted Pistorius's version of events, all that was left was the "planned shooting of an intruder", said Nel.

No court would ever accept that Pistorius acted in self-defence.

The firearm and the cellphone "killed" his version, he said.

"How did the gun and the cellphone get on the carpet in front of the shower?

"He [Pistorius] stood at the wash basin. He fired at the door. He dropped the gun," Nel alleged.

He asked why two cellphones and a firearm were found in the bathroom.

"The State's case is the preferred one," he said.

Nel also did not rule out the possibility that Pistorius had orchestrated the scene to his benefit, he replied when questioned about this possibility by Magistrate Desmond Nair.

All the State had to prove was that there was nothing exceptional which allowed Pistorius to get bail.

Pistorius is charged with the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. He has denied this in an affidavit, and has said he thought there was an intruder in his home.

Earlier, Pistorius's counsel Barry Roux said it was unlikely that his client will flee the country.

"It does not accord with common sense that a well-known person would run away," he said.

In argument in favour of bail, Roux referred to a cricket bat found on the crime scene.

He submitted that it would be relevant only if it were found to have caused injuries on the body of Pistorius's dead girlfriend.

Pistorius has denied a charge of murdering Steenkamp, and has said he thought a burglar was in the toilet when he shot through the door, killing her.

Roux argued that there was evidently no significant information from cellphone records the police had sent for analysis.

The investigating officer Hilton Botha had told the court he expected to be notified if something important came up, but had not been told of anything.

Roux said of the State's case: "There was nothing. There was just nothing."

The hearing has been postponed to Friday at 10am for further argument.

Meanwhile, the national police commissioner has appointed the country's "top detective" as the new lead investigator in the Pistorius murder case.

The decision came after it emerged the initial investigator, Hilton Botha, was facing attempted murder charges.

General Riah Phiyega says Lieutenant General Vinesh Moonoo will take over the investigation.

Phiyega says the Pistorius case "shall receive attention at the national level" and Moonoo will "gather a team of highly skilled and experience detectives".

She says Moonoo is the police's "top detective".

Botha's future in charge of the investigation into world-famous athlete Pistorius came into doubt after charges of attempted murder were reinstated against him in relation to a 2011 shooting incident, when he and two other police officers allegedly fired shots at a taxi.

Additional reporting by AP



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