Killing of top cop Kinnear comes days after judgment in witness shooting case and new extortion investigations

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Police officers outside the house of Charl Kinnear who was killed outside his house in Bishop Lavis.
Police officers outside the house of Charl Kinnear who was killed outside his house in Bishop Lavis.
Murray Williams, News24
  • One of the last cases in which Cape Town anti-gang policeman Kinnear testified in was about the murder of a witness. 
  • The top cop, known for his investigations into gangs, was no stranger to witnesses being shot as he worked through cases.
  • In January, his wife said she was scared for their lives.

One of the last cases that top Cape Town Anti-Gang-Unit commander Charl Kinnear testified in before his death, had judgment handed down this week, and led to two people being found guilty of the murder of a witness. 

On Tuesday, Ashwin Willemse and Waylin Abdulla were found guilty of the murder of Gregory Carelse, a witness in a drive-by shooting in 2017, but not guilty of killing Prezano Holland. 

Kinnear had been quick to the scene in Bishop Lavis because he lived nearby.

Carelse had worked at the City of Cape Town’s Community Safety Department and he and Holland were shot dead in October 2018.

In her judgment, Judge Gayaat Salie-Hlophe noted that Kinnear had been with the police for 31 years. 

Kinnear's turf was known to be the intricate world of organised crime and its tenuous links and allegiances, which included understanding gang slang and the complex connections between various enterprises in the illicit economy.

Witnesses being killed was not new to him, as in the case of Carelse, where the court heard that a witness to Carelse's shooting was initially too scared and did not trust the police, so did not initially report what he saw.

However, according to a report in IOL, investigating these cases came at a heavy price, with Kinnear's wife Nicolette saying they feared for their lives.

They were reportedly woken up in November 2019, with the operations room saying they had caught somebody outside their house with a grenade.

Faeez Smith and Amaal Jantjies were arrested, but Nicolette Kinnear said in January she was worried for the safety after their protection had been withdrawn. At the time the police deemed it an internal matter not to be commented on.

Some of his cases include investigating the murder during a school drop-off of criminal lawyer Pete Mihalik on 3 October in 2018. This case is still being tried.

He had also worked on a case involving alleged extortion again businessmen Nafiz Modack, Colin Booysen, Jacques Cronje, Ashley Fields, and Carl Lakay who were eventually acquitted of trying to extract a protection fee, and went out for a celebration at the restaurant they had been accused of extorting.

He had also investigated the brothers Jerome and Colin Booysen and some of the Stanfield brothers. 

READ | Cops and corruption claims: Police 'tensions' emerge in Modack extortion case

During the extortion case investigation, Modack accused Kinnear of being part of a group of police plotting to assassinate him. He was so fed up when he was unsuccessful in getting an urgent interdict to prevent the police from harassing him, that he vowed to approach the Constitutional Court over the issue.

During the extortion case, Kinnear had also been accused of visiting privately with people under investigation, but he said he had just gone to a house that had been linked to a gang because his son was in a relationship with a person in the house. 

Kinnear had also submitted a complaint that there was a plot against him and some officers, including Major General Jeremy Vearey who had gone to the Labour Court to challenge a demotion.

Colin Booysen had also stoked the fires of repeated claims that some cops were dirty by stating in the extortion case that there was a "Cape capture" of policemen in Cape Town. To this Kinnear had replied: "I don't now anything about that, your worship."

In 2018 former Western Cape police commissioner Arno Lamoer was among those sentenced to an effective six years in jail for corruption.

Kinnear's death also comes within days of Police Minister Bheki Cele announcing a special steering committee to investigate fresh claims of protection racketeering after a formal complaint this month. 

At the time Cape Town's Community Safety MEC JP Smith said he had already received threatening text messages over the claims of racketeering. 

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