Modack delays gang case in spat over legal aid lawyer

Alleged underworld figure Nafiz Modack appeared at the Cape High Court in May last year. Picture: Brendan Magaar/African News Agency (ANA)

Alleged underworld figure Nafiz Modack appeared at the Cape High Court in May last year. Picture: Brendan Magaar/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jan 19, 2024


Cape Town - Alleged underworld kingpin Nafiz Modack has again delayed his high court trial for the murder of Anti-Gang Unit detective Lieutenant-Colonel Charl Kinnear, after refusing to allow the Legal Aid Board to appoint a lawyer for him. Instead, he has now lodged an appeal.

Modack is set to stand trial along with several accused later this month.

In the mammoth underworld trial they face more than 3 000 charges relating to various incidents, including the grenade attack on Kinnear’s home, pinging the cellphone of Kinnear and other high-ranking police officers (as well as the attempted hit on William Booth), fraud, corruption and racketeering.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila says Modack applied for Legal Aid to represent him and was initially successful.

“His application was turned down when he told Legal Aid South Africa that he wants to be represented by his present legal representative, Schalk van der Merwe, or advocate Dirk Uys.”

Judge Mark Sher called Russel Cloete from Legal Aid to explain what had transpired and he told the court that Modack insisted on a legal representative of his own.

“He further told the court that Legal Aid had a database from which they chose legal representatives and both Van der Merwe and Uys were not credited. He indicated the challenges Legal Aid would have if each accused was allowed to choose his or her own legal representative,” said Ntabazalila.

It was revealed that Modack had since appealed the decision by Legal Aid and should this appeal be denied he could appeal with the provincial and national offices.

“The State noted what was put before court and expressed its unhappiness as it believed that the latest developments were a pathetic attempt at delaying the case. The State is ready to start the trial and its witnesses have been subpoenaed,” said Ntabazalila

The court also heard that co-accused Zane Killian had approached Legal Aid but some legal representatives were not available, while others “were not inclined to accepting the case”.

Modack’s younger brother, Yaseen, had also not yet finalised his legal representations and was warned that failure to do so will see him being held in contempt of court.

Meanwhile, former AGU officer Ashley Tabisher confirmed once again that he will represent himself despite warnings on the seriousness of the charges. The case is postponed to January 29.

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Cape Argus