PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — A substance found in Oscar Pistorius’ bedroom was an “herbal remedy” and not banned, his defense lawyer said Wednesday, after police claimed they discovered two boxes of testosterone and needles in the Olympic athlete’s house.
Police Detective Warrant Officer Hilton Botha claimed in Pistorius’ bail hearing in a South African court that testosterone was found. Pistorius has been charged with premeditated murder in the shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
Botha said police made the discovery in the double-amputee runner and multiple Paralympic champion’s upscale Pretoria house but offered no further details or explanation. State prosecutor Gerrie Nel also had to correct Botha when he initially called the substance “steroids.”
Pistorius’ lawyer, Barry Roux, said on questioning the detective, who was described as a 16-year police veteran, that it was not a banned substance and that police were trying to give the discovery a “negative connotation.”
“It is an herbal remedy,” Roux said. “It is not a steroid and it is not a banned substance.”
Police “take every piece of evidence and try to extract the most possibly negative connotation and present it to the court,” senior defense lawyer Roux said. The debate over the substance added another dramatic twist to a case that has already gripped the world’s attention since Steenkamp’s killing at Pistorius’ home last Thursday.
It was not immediately clear what the substance was.
Prosecutor Nel also said that police were not saying that Pistorius was using the substance, only that it was discovered along with the needles in his bedroom.
Pistorius said Tuesday in a written affidavit and read in court by Roux that he mistakenly killed model Steenkamp in the early hours of Valentine’s Day when he fired shots into a locked toilet door thinking she was a dangerous intruder.
The prosecution claims Pistorius intended to kill the 29-year-old Steenkamp after they had a fight.
International Paralympic Committee spokesman Craig Spence told The Associated Press soon after the substance claims that Pistorius — the world’s most famous disabled athlete — was drug tested twice in London last year by the IPC, on Aug. 25 and Sept. 8. Both test results were negative, Spence said.
The Aug. 25 test was an out-of-competition test, and the Sept. 8 one in-competition, a day before the end of the London Paralympics.
Imray reported from Johannesburg.