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Charl Kinnear murder accused Zane Kilian linked to atte...

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Age of the Assassin

Charl Kinnear murder accused Zane Kilian linked to attempted hit on Cape Town lawyer William Booth

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - OCTOBER 27: Suspect Zane Kilian leaves Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on October 27, 2020 in Cape Town, South Africa. It is reported that Zane Kilian who is accused in the Charl Kinnear murder case faces additional charges which include pinging attorney, William Booth's phone and also submitting fraudulent documents to the court. (Photo by Gallo Images/Brenton Geach)

Zane Kilian, the man accused of killing Lt-Col Charl Kinnear,  has been added as accused number six in a case involving five suspects arrested in connection with the failed attempt to murder prominent Cape Town defence attorney William Booth.

The charge sheet now reads: the State versus Kauthar Brown, Ebrahim Deare, Riyaad Gesant, Kim Kashiefa Smith, Igsaan Williams and Zane Kilian. 

They are facing charges of conspiracy to commit murder and attempted murder stemming from the attempt on the life of 65-year-old criminal lawyer William Booth in Higgovale, Cape Town, on 9 April 2020.

Kilian is also implicated in other charges, including a gang related charge, unlawful interception of communication, access or interception of any data relating to the “pinging” of Booth’s phone. The charge sheet was handed to Kilian’s counsel on Tuesday, 27 October, in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court following his first appearance in this matter.

A cell phone “ping” is the process of determining the location, with reasonable accuracy, of a cell phone at any given point in time by using the phone’s GPS location capabilities. It is very similar to GPS vehicle tracking systems. To “ping” means to send a signal to a particular cell phone and have it respond with the requested data.

Booth had been inside his home in Cape Town when two suspects wearing surgical masks fired shots at his residence but failed in their attempt and fortunately missed, police said at the time. 

In Booth’s case, as in the slaying of the police anti-gang unit’s Charl Kinnear on Friday 18 September in Bishop Lavis, the ping linked Kilian to the attempt on Booth’s life. The State contends that Kilian’s pinging set the hit on Booth in motion and kept the alleged hitmen informed of the whereabouts of their intended target.

According to the charge sheet, during April 2020 Kilian unlawfully and intentionally accessed or intercepted the data and geographical location of the cell phone linked to the phone number of Booth without his authority or permission.

It is alleged Booth’s phone was pinged more than 500 times since April 2020. In the case of Kinnear, court papers showed that Kilian allegedly pinged the policeman’s phone 2,116 times up to the minute he was assassinated.

The State claims the five accused were members of the Terrible West Side gang from Woodstock, who were involved in violent crimes including conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder, possession of firearms and dealing in drugs.

These are the first gang-related charges the State has instituted against Kilian, but more charges could be added once the targets of 10,000 pings Kilian conducted are established and whether these pings resulted in any gang hits. 

Kilian’s lawyer, Eric Bryer, said on Monday 26 October at the Bellville Magistrate’s Court that additional charges of murder and attempted murder could be added to his client’s final charge sheet. 

The State is determined to prove that Kilian conspired with criminal elements, including underworld figures, in the perpetration of crimes in the Western Cape especially.

Booth has defended many of Cape Town’s most notorious gangsters in the Western Cape, frequently winning his cases and keeping his clients out of jail. 

Kinnear, on the other hand, doggedly investigated the illicit gun and drug trade allegedly between gangsters and corrupt police officers in the Western Cape and Gauteng.

Kilian is accused of pinging both Kinnear’s and Booth’s phones. By doing so, he allegedly aided criminal elements in their failed attempt on Booth’s life and in the murder of Kinnear.

On Tuesday, 27 October, the matter in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court was postponed to 10 November for a bail application. And on 27 November, Kilian’s bail application in the Kinnear case will be heard in the Bellville Regional Court.

Bryer told the media that he intended writing to the Directorate of Public Protections to have the two bail applications joined.

“I will be making representations to hold these matters together because it is crazy to have them separately. If the worst comes, then we have to do two bail applications.”

Commenting on the decision by the court to have his client moved from the Bellville police holding cells to Goodwood Prison, Bryer said he had no idea why his client was moved. 

“Kilian had a psychiatrist interview booked for Tuesday night, 27 October, and the sudden transfer came as a shock to us.”

On Kilian’s health, Bryer stressed his client is in a bad state of mind. He said when Kilian had signed the bail affidavits on Sunday morning, he was “filled with the joys of life”, but when the extra charges were added, it “gutted” him.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila confirmed that Kilian was added as accused number six in the case involving five others charged with attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder of William Booth.

He said the State would oppose bail for Kilian. DM/MC

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