A Strong Day For Oscar Pistorius's Defense, As Lead Investigator Struggles Under Cross-Examination

Today was the second day in Oscar Pistorius's bail hearing, and it started as a bit of a circus. Hundreds of media members and spectators were turned away from the courtroom (here's a 360-degree panorama that shows just how small it is), and a promised overflow room was not made ready—and some members of the public claimed they were being kept out because of their race.

The day was largely taken up with examination of police investigator Hilton Botha, who was the first to arrive at the murder scene. Botha's testimony included three key pieces of new information, but appeared to wilt under intense questioning from Pistorius's attorney.

• Botha testified that a neighbor heard a man and a woman arguing before the sound of gunfire. Upon cross-examination, he admitted that the witnesses's house is 600 meters (nearly 2,000 feet) from Pistorius's. (When pressed by the prosecutor, Botha downgraded the distance to 300 meters.

Additionally, the witness claims they heard three shots, and 17 minutes later, three more shots. Only four cartridges were found at the scene.

• Pistorius's version of events was that Reeva Steenkamp had gotten up to use the bathroom without him realizing, and he thought she was still in bed when he fired into the toilet. Botha testified that Steenkamp's wounds were on her right side, not the side that would have been facing the door if she were sitting on the toilet. Instead, he offered that she had been "hiding" in the bathroom, rather than using it.

Under cross-examination, Botha admitted that Steenkamp's bladder was empty, which you wouldn't expect from someone at 3 a.m. Pistorius's attorney says the evidence indicates that she had indeed recently used the bathroom.

• A major question is whether Pistorius took the time to put his prosthetic legs on before getting out of bed and approaching the bathroom. Police say he did, and that should have given him time to realize Steenkamp was not in bed next to him. Pistorius's statement says he did not have his limbs, and was surprised and vulnerable. Botha testified today that the angle of the gunshot through the bathroom door were "from top down," which would indicate he was standing at his full, prosthetic height. Under cross-examination, he admitted ballistics tests had not been completed yet.

Botha was reportedly "hesitant and stuttering." It was the strongest day yet for Pistorius's case, as his attorney Barry Roux hammered Botha's account. He says Botha failed to wear protective shoe coverings on entering the house, possibly contaminating the crime scene. He said that police jumped to the conclusion that the substance found in Pistorius's drawer was illegal steroids, when it fact it was a perfectly legal supplement. He accused Botha and police of ignoring or discarding anything that could be used to present a defense.

Police "take every piece of evidence and try to extract the most possibly negative connotation and present it to the court," Roux said.

The bail hearing picks up again tomorrow.