The Western Cape High Court, amidst heightened security and media attention, has initiated the trial of Nafiz Modack. The controversial figure, known for his alleged ties to the underworld, found himself without legal representation as the trial commenced.
Judge Robert Henney, presiding over the case, expressed frustration at Modack’s lack of a lawyer. This development follows a series of delays and court incidents involving Modack. The courtroom was a scene of intense activity, with heavily armed police officers in attendance and photographers capturing the moment.
Legal Aid and Representation Issues
Modack’s journey to this point involved an appeal to the Legal Aid board after he failed to secure a lawyer for an extended period. Although his request for Legal Aid was approved, Modack’s insistence on selecting his own team of legal experts created further complications. He expressed a desire for the Legal Aid to finance a handpicked team of high-profile legal representatives.
Judge Henney, however, was unmoved by Modack’s preferences. He emphasized the lack of success likely in Modack’s appeal and presented him with stark choices: accept the lawyer provided by Legal Aid, find alternative funding for legal representation, or face trial without any legal help.
“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,” Judge Henney stated firmly.
Subsequently, Modack agreed to accept any lawyer assigned by the Legal Aid board, and the trial proceeded.
Charges and Co-Accused
Modack, along with 14 co-accused, faces over 100 charges. These charges span a range of serious offences, including orchestrating a grenade attack on the home of slain Anti-Gang Unit (AGU) detective, Lieutenant-Colonel Charl Kinnear. The accusations also extend to tracking high-ranking police officers’ cellphones, and various counts of fraud, corruption, and racketeering.
During the proceedings, information emerged about Modack’s younger brother, Yaseen, who also faces charges including money laundering. Advocate Luzuko Guma, known for representing alleged 28s gang leader Ralph Stanfield and Nicole Johnson, will represent Yaseen Modack.
Ashley Tabisher, a former AGU officer, declared his intention to self-represent and plead not guilty. The court has directed the State to provide him with the necessary case files for his defense.
Both Modack and Zane Kilian, another accused, indicated their intention to plead not guilty. The appointment of Modack’s Legal Aid lawyer is anticipated shortly.
The trial, with its complex web of legal and criminal implications, continues to unfold.