Cape Town - The Western Cape High Court has proceeded with the trial against alleged underworld kingpin Nafiz Modack despite him not having a lawyer present on the first day of the trial.
Following months of courtroom antics and delays, trial Judge Robert Henney handed down a tongue-lashing as he reprimanded Modack for not having representation.
As heavily armed cops swarmed the courtroom and photographers clicked away, Modack sat stoically in the dock dressed in a black blazer and white shirt.
The decision to proceed with the trial comes amid an appeal to the Legal Aid board by Modack.
After months of failing to appoint a lawyer, the High Court ordered Modack to apply for Legal Aid.
Last week, it was revealed that while he was successful in his application, the man accused of being behind the murder plot of slain Anti-Gang Unit (AGU) detective Lieutenant-Colonel Charl Kinnear wanted Legal Aid to pay for legal representatives of his choice.
When he was informed that he may not do so, he opted to lodge an appeal with the Legal Aid Board, but Judge Henney was not impressed and told Modack he had no choice.
“Your appeal, as far as I am concerned, has no prospects of success. You either take Legal Aid or get some money somewhere or you proceed without representation.”
Modack conceded that he will now accept any lawyer allocated to him by the Legal Aid board as Judge Henney proceeded with the trial.
Modack along with 14 others face charges relating to various incidents, including the grenade attack on Kinnear’s home, pinging the cellphone of Kinnear and other high-ranking cops as well as fraud, corruption and racketeering charges.
During proceedings it was revealed that Modack’s younger brother, Yaseen, will now be represented by advocate Luzuko Guma.
Guma recently represented alleged 28s gang boss Ralph Stanfield, and his wife, Nicole Johnson.
Former AGU officer Ashley Tabisher told the court that he will proceed with representing himself and will plead not guilty. The State was ordered to ensure he gets a copy of the docket for his defence.
Judge Henney proceeded with pleas as Modack and Zane Kilian indicated they will plead not guilty.
Modack’s lawyer is set to be named soon. The trial continues.