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Police under fire for ‘underhanded tactics’ in alleged underworld figure Nafiz Modack’s case

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Cape Town – The state and police came under fire for using “underhanded tactics” in the criminal case of alleged underworld figure Nafiz Modack and his co-accused Zane Kilian, Jacques Cronjé, Ricardo Morgan and police officer Ashley Tabisher.

This emerged in the Blue Downs Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday where a bail application hearing was to get under way, but two “concerning” matters – defence counsel being restricted from consulting with their clients at the court police cells through alleged instruction by the prosecutorial team, and police officers having obtained a warning statement from Kilian’s wife in the absence of any legal representation – were put on record first.

Senior Counsel for Modack, Dirk Uys, said they were aggrieved by the restriction of consulting with their clients ahead of court proceedings on Tuesday, submitting that they were told to speak to the prosecution team first, if they wanted to consult with their clients at the court police cells.

Uys said the consultation at court was unavoidable due to new regulations at Drakenstein Correctional Centre to combat Covid, which included no consultation with clients at the facility.

“This is almost unavoidable that we must consult at all (at court) because the prisons are implementing regulations designed at combating Covid. When we went to the police cells this morning we were told we were not entitled to consult with my client.

“That has an unavoidable consequence, it means our right to consult, which is an inalienable right, our right to access our client and our client’s right to access us, has been violated and tossed aside. Enquiring why we were not allowed to speak to our client, we were told that it was an instruction from the prosecutors…in fact the name (state prosecutor Greg) Wolmarans was mentioned,” said Uys.

Uys further submitted that it seemed a “game is being played in which the accused are being shunted around”.

Prosecutors Wolmarans and Blaine Lazarus vehemently denied the allegations that they had given such instruction, adding that there were a “myriad of safety concerns”.

“These allegations…can be firmly denied by myself and Lazarus as a prosecutorial team. Once these issues were raised in terms of consultation…we spoke to captain Dirks (police cell manager) who expressed that consultation must be managed,” said Wolmarans.

Consultation was allowed during a lunch break.

Kilian’s advocate, Marius Botha, submitted that the investigation team had “paid a visit” to Kilian’s wife on August 10 and 11 to obtain a statement, in the absence of a lawyer.

“The reason I place it on record is that they did not follow the proper protocol. Four police officers went to her home in Gauteng where she was alone with her child,” said Botha.

The police officers, after being persuaded telephonically by Kilian’s lawyer to leave their client, returned again a day later to obtain a “warning statement”.

“We do not know the motive behind the action of the police, but we must place it on record…They questioned her for five hours. It feels like a desperate act on their part…these kinds of underhanded tactics are not allowed,” said Botha.

The matter continues.

Cape Times