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Court orders legal aid for Modack in underworld murder trial

Court orders legal aid for Modack in underworld murder trial
Nafiz Modack (left) and co-accused Zane Kilian appear in the Western Cape High Court in Cape Town during preliminary hearings on 29 January 2024. (Photo: Gallo Images / Die Burger / Jaco Marais

Western Cape High Court Judge Robert Henney has asked the Legal Aid board to finalise his decision to appoint a lawyer to represent alleged underworld figure Nafiz Modack in the murder trial of Anti-Gang Unit Lieutenant-Colonel Charl Kinnear. Modack is the only one of the 15 accused who has not been represented by a lawyer since the trial began on 29 January 2024.

Modack and his brother Yaseen appeared before Judge Henney on Friday, where Henney reiterated Modack’s right to a lawyer. He ordered that legal aid for Modack be quickly finalised so the trial can proceed. 

The decision to supply a lawyer is currently being considered by the national Legal Aid board.

Henney told the Legal Aid manager Russell Cloete that Modack is entitled to legal aid and that the “National Legal Aid board should carry out the decision I made in this respect”.

“Any other issues that the legal aid board wants to investigate or information they want from Modack, should be done separately.”

Ex-cops face death threats Kinnear

Charl Kinnear was assassinated outside his home in Bishop Lavis, Cape Town. (Photo: Noor Slamdien)

Modack and 14 co-accused are collectively facing 124 criminal charges in the trial, which include murders, attempted killings, corruption, gangsterism and communication interception.

Modack and Kilian are the main accused in the killing of Kinnear on 18 September 2020. They have also been charged with attempting to murder criminal lawyer William Booth on 9 April 2020. Main accused Nafiz Modack requested that the state should provide him with an annexure of the whole pinging list on Monday. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: ‘Cops killed Kinnear and I have proof’, Nafiz Modack tells high court

It was alleged in the list of pingings that Modack and the co-accused unlawfully intercepted the mobile devices of, among others, Kinnear, alleged 28s gang boss Ralph Stanfield, as well as of City of Cape Town safety and security mayoral committee member JP Smith.

Nafiz Modack appears at the Western Cape High Court on 1 February 2024 in Cape Town. The accused face various charges under the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, including the assassination of crime investigator Charl Kinnear in September 2020. (Photo: Gallo Images / Die Burger / Jaco Marais)

Legal aid woes  

Cloete, while addressing the court, confirmed that the legal representations of the other accused — which include murder c0-accused Zane Kilian, Fagmeed Kelly and Jacques Cronje — have been sorted out.

 “The only outstanding issue is that of Nafiz Modack. The Legal Board requested additional information from Modack on Tuesday, 14 February and we have received a response from him.” The matter is being assessed before the national board, who will take a decision about whether it is sufficient.

Nafiz Modack’s mother Ruwaida, passes her son Yaseen after appearing at the Cape Town High court on 5 May 2023. (Photo: Daily Maverick)

He told the court that there was a meeting on Friday morning, saying that “discussions took place and I’m not privy to what was said or decided at this stage”.

But Henney underlined the order he gave — that Modack is entitled to legal aid still stands — and the legal aid board should come up with reasons why they want to withdraw legal representations made to him.

The judge also noted a possibility in the way forward is to have a separation of trial, where the court can make a ruling that Modack be tried separately from the rest.

Judges David Willie, Mustak Parker and Robert Henney arrive for the private memorial service of slain lawyer advocate Pete Mihalik on 12 November 2018 in Cape Town. Mihalik, 50, was shot and killed while dropping his kids outside Reddam House Atlantic Seaboard School in Green Point. He was remembered in a private memorial service held at the Centre for the Book. (Photo: Gallo Images / Netwerk24 / Jaco Marais)

Representation terminated

Advocate Guma, who formerly represented the alleged 28 gang boss Ralph Stanfield, confirmed his termination from representing Yaseen Modack.

He told judge Henney that a new legal team has been appointed for Yaseen, and that there has already been a handover consultation of documents with the newly appointed team for the accused to start his plea on Monday.  

Nafiz Modack appeared with 14 co-accused at the Cape Town High court on 5 May 2023. (Photo: Daily Maverick)

Yaseen confirmed to Judge Henney that he had a consultation on Wednesday with his new legal team, and that he has sufficient funds to pay legal aid to continue throughout the trial.

The trial resulting from cop Charl Kinnear’s September 2020 assassination outside his Cape Town home continues, with Modack and 14 co-accused expected to be back in the dock on Monday, 19 February. It would also be anticipated that Modack will have a legal aid lawyer to represent him. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Dave Alston says:

    The person who published photos of the judges should be taken to task. How stupid can you be or maybe it was done on purpose.

  • Sydney Kaye says:

    I never understand why defendants are permitted to delay trials or hearings because they can’t pay their choice of expense lawyers, usually at the last moment. This could be summarily dealt with by appointing a legal lawyer. This applies even more so when the state is paying for the defense such as in the farcical hearing to impeach the last PP, where her big mouth lawyer ran the roost, charging what he wanted.

  • Rae Earl says:

    The country and its police force, SAPS, aches for men of the calibre and integrity of Charl Kinnear, Jermeny Vearey, and Peter Jacobs. They were doing great work in uncovering corruption and arms deals between top cops and gangsters at the time Kinnear was assassinated. Vearey and Jacobs were removed from their positions by National Police Commissioner Khehle Sitole on trumped up charges of insubordination. The real story is that they were on the trail of cops who were working with Modack and Kilian on arms deals and needed to be removed. Unbelievably, police minister Bheki Cele stood by and did nothing to help these men after he effectively fired Sitole. One would hope that lawyer Dali Mpofu be appointed as Modack’s legal aid as Modack would then feature in Mpofu’s long list of lost cases and remain in jail.

  • Respect for Truth says:

    Modack’s assertion that the police are responsible for Kinnear’s death , is more that plausible.

  • Hendrik Pienaar says:

    This seems like another endless trial that is going to end in an acquittal due to “family” connections. Loopholes will be found or provided. All the money in the world but tha taxpayers must provide legal aid……

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