The officer in charge of the case of the suspected murder of Reeva Steenkamp, Warrant officer Hilton Botha, will face seven charges of attempted murder possibly later this year. The officer had been removed from the case but was then put in charge because of his seniority. How can it be appropriate for an officer accused of such serious crimes to find himself in charge of a murder case? Moreover, the charges against Hilton Botha, 38, were originally dropped but were then dramatically reinstated yesterday. Neither the prosecution nor defence counsel were aware of any charges that may have been levied against the warrant officer.
The allegations against Botha stem from an incident that occurred in 2009, involving two other police officers. Allegedly, all have been accused of ‘opening fire while drunk’ on a taxi containing seven passengers. Notwithstanding the serious allegations against him, Botha will remain in charge of this murder case, despite the fact that this must seriously call into question his integrity. In most mature western countries, officers are suspended when allegations of such a serious nature lead to charges and inevitable prosecution.
Leaving Botha at the helm of such a high profile murder allegation must weaken the case against Pistorius and raises serious questions about the propriety and impartiality in the South African police service and, wider still, in the fallibility of their justice system.
It is bad enough that we have to suffer Popes and Princesses, as if most care for either and their outdated institutions, but must we have this level of obsequiousness for both?
First the Pope resigns and we have the BBC (and others) going into overdrive to celebrate this peddler of mediaeval morals swiftly followed by Hilary Mantel’s criticisms raising the Duchess of Cambridge’s newsworthiness yet again (is it even possible to have a Kate free day?).
If I hear Nicholas Witchell or Norman St John-Stevas, Baron St John of Fawning with one more slavishly respectful, pitiful prattle session about a religious or royal personage I will scream (I will!)
A father faces having his two children taken into care 8,500 miles away because the Home Office says he does not earn enough money to keep them in the UK.
Barman Justin Tutt, 29, brought son Seth, eight, and daughter Leigh, five, to live in England with him after the sudden death of their mother in their native South Africa. But despite Mr Tutt holding a British passport and having another son born in the UK, under new immigration rules cracking down on asylum seekers claiming benefits, Seth and Leigh cannot stay here as they must be living in a family earning at least £22,500 a year. Because Mr Tutt brings home only £120 a week and his fiancee is on maternity leave, the youngsters will be deported in March and are likely to be taken into care. A South African social worker has now warned the father-of-three that his children could be at ‘significant risk’ because they are white and maybe singled out for attack.
Today Mr Tutt, who lives with his children, fiancée Clare Miles, 29, their seven-month-old son Jake and Clare’s daughter Kaitlyn, seven, in Burnley, Lancashire, said: ‘People ask why I don’t just go back to South Africa but I have nothing out there and I will lose my family here if I go there. ‘Here I have got a house, a job and I am settled and I don’t see why Seth and Leigh can’t settle with us too. ‘I am in a catch 22 but I will fight as much as I have to to keep my boys with me. ‘It is impossible for me to go back. ‘I just want to have my children here safe with me and yet I’m being told that they aren’t allowed to and that they will be put into care. ‘All my family live in England, I have no one in South Africa and no life there. ‘All I want to do is keep my family here safe and together.’
South African born Mr Tutt, whose mother was born in Britain, emigrated to the UK five years ago to find work and a new life after he and his wife Deidre split up. Seth and Leigh lived with their mother in Kimberley on the Northern Cape whilst he met Clare and she became pregnant with Jake. But tragedy struck when Deirdre died in May last year and the children had to come to England to live with their father.
‘We have four children and are getting married in May this year and it is not like we have money to spare. I could understand if the children’s mum was still alive and we were wanting to bring them over but the circumstances are a lot different. It is clear from the above that this family need support for this petition to the Home Secretary, Theresa May MP. Please sign this petition forward it to your friends to do the same as we have only a month until this insane deportation takes place!
During his visit to Amritsar this week, and in relation to the 1919 massacre of almost 400 peaceful protesters by British troops near to the Golden Temple, David Cameron said that the UK must stand up for the right to peaceful protest and thus paid his respects to those martyred.
Yet here in Britain in 2005, people were arrested for reading aloud the names of British military casualties when they were standing by the Cenotaph. I am not aware that this government has repealed the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005, which bans any person from taking part in an unauthorised demonstration within 1 km of Parliament Square.
Has this government repealed this legislation banning peaceful protest? Have they pardoned those convicted of what must surely be a ‘non-crime’? Can we believe what our Prime Minister is saying?