The spectacle of blue lights and heavily armed Anti-Gang Unit (AGU) members arriving at court for one of Zane Killian’s court appearances was whittled down to just one court orderly in a low-key appearance in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on Monday.
Killian, Kim Smith, Kauther Brown, Ibrahim Deare, and Riyaad Gasant face charges related to the attempted murder of lawyer William Booth, who was shot at while in his garage in Cape Town on 8 April during the harder lockdown.
Smith, Brown, Deare, Gasant, and one other person who had charges against him withdrawn, had already been arrested. Smith was released on bail.
Killian was arrested for the 18 September murder of AGU detective Lieutenant-Colonel Charl Kinnear in Bishop Lavis.
Kinnear was shot dead while waiting outside his home for his son to move a car to make space for him to park. He had worked on a series of gang-related shooting cases, and was also part of a team investigating a security firm’s firearms record-keeping and permits, and a web of interconnected firearms-related cases.
After Kinnear’s murder, police moved swiftly to arrest Killian, although he was of a different build to a person depicted in CCTV footage of that fatal day.
‘Tracking thousands of cellphones’
The former rugby player was brought from the East Rand in Johannesburg, to Cape Town, and in the course of preparing for his bail application, information emerged that Kilian had allegedly been tracking thousands of people’s cellphones in the course of his work as an unregistered private investigator.
Analysis of this list found that Booth’s device was among thousands tracked, including Kinnear’s, so Killian was added to the Booth attempted murder case.
He also faces charges of being involved in gang activity by alleged association with the other four accused who the State contends were linked to a gang in Woodstock.
In the earlier days of the investigation, Killian’s safety was of such concern that his first appearance at Bishop Lavis Magistrate’s Court was marked by a massive team of armed specialist police officers, wearing bulletproof vests and helmets, with rifles at the ready. Everybody going into the courtroom were searched and forced to switch their cellphones off.
Bail delayed twice
Killian was hustled into an armoured vehicle afterwards and driven away from Bishop Lavis with sirens wailing and a long tail of escort vehicles, with police leaning out of the side of some of the vehicles. The matter was moved to the Bellville Regional Court which was regarded as a more secure venue.
His bail bid has been delayed twice over Covid-19: Once when the prosecutor had to isolate, and then when Killian had to isolate.
On Monday, Killian and the other four accused stood in the dock for the short hearing to postpone the matter to 21 January.
Smith sat in the public benches waiting to join the others. When they came up from the holding cells their eyes scanned the benches for a familiar face in a public gallery with few people in it due to Covid-19 restrictions on access to the court. The uniformed AGU officers which had accompanied him previously were not present.
He appeared refreshed, wearing a blue-and-white-striped button-down shirt, with a pair of jeans and a leather belt. His case was handled by the usual prosecutor who manages cases in that court for the purposes of the postponement.
There was a slight commotion at the door over a person who had not removed a cap before entering, but otherwise, court proceeded as usual without the group being followed back to the cells with the AGU.
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