Glenn Agliotti cleared of Kebble murder
Glenn Agliotti has been cleared of the murder of mining magnate Brett Kebble.
“Accused, stand,” said Judge Frans Kgomo at the end of a lengthy summary in the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on Thursday.
“You are consequently found not guilty and discharged in terms of Section 204,” said Kgomo.
Kgomo granted Agliotti’s discharge application, effectively freeing him from the four charges against him including a count of murder for the 2005 Kebble slaying.
Agliotti was “relieved”, but still “angry” at the ruling.
“I am relieved ... justice was done, justice wasn’t only done, it was seen to be done,” said Agliotti after the ruling.
“I am angry at the same time.”
Kgomo was harsh on the prosecution and the investigators in handing down his judgement.
Agliotti said he would now spend time with his friends and family.
He said he did not yet know whether he would take any action against the state.
“We will have to wait and see.”
Last week, Agliotti’s legal team led by advocate Laurance Hodes SC argued for a discharge of the charges in terms of Section 174 of the Criminal Procedures Act.
Welcome to the Mafia
Evidence reminded Kgomo of the Corleone family in Mario Puzo’s The Godfather.
Agliotti played the role of a top commander of the “caporegime” in the Mafia hierarchy, said Kgomo.
“I revisited that book after listening to the evidence led,” he said.
Kgomo was revisiting the evidence by security boss, Clinton Nassif, the state’s “star” witness.
“The trickery and shenanigans practised ... as demonstrated in that book was demonstrated by this family, the Kebbles.”
The “caporegime” was in charge of the lower structures who reported directly to him.
“‘The Don’ was Brett Kebble, the ‘consiglieri’ was John Stratton, the ‘caporegime’ was the accused, the ‘lower caporegime’ was Clinton Nassif and the ‘button men’ were [self-confessed hitmen boxer] Mikey Schultz and bouncers Nigel McGurk and Faizel Smith,” he said.
“If things go wrong at the bottom of the order ... it cannot be traced to the top.”
The “Don” was the head of the family, the “consiglieri” was the don’s right hand man and the “button men” were the muscle.
He said Nassif’s testimony painted a picture of a structure akin to that of the Mafia.
He recalled how Nassif and Agliotti met in 2003 and how the latter introduced Nassif to the Kebbles and to Stratton, Kebble’s business partner.
After lunch, Kgomo told the court that the testimony of Kebble’s butler, Andrew Minnaar and of Nassif’s colleague, Steven Saunders, did not take the trial further or add anything new.
“The prima facie view that I hold at this time is that I thought there would be evidence led that would causally connect the accused with one or more of the transgressions in the indictment, but in hindsight it looks like the state placed booby traps along the way ... like covering the roadway with rocks in the hopes that a certain vehicle would travel that way and may perchance ... damage itself and ... travel no further,” he said.
Kgomo said the three cellphone experts called to the witness stand could not say who the phones were registered to, could not exclude the manipulation of cellphone records, and one of them had not received the Section 205 subpoena required to issue confidential records.
“There was an abuse of the system by police. My considered view is that if this state of affairs ... is allowed ... to persist, we should all be very afraid.”
Agliotti faced four charges—two of conspiracy to commit murder, one count of attempted murder and another of murder.
The murder charge relates to the Kebble shooting in Athol, northern Johannesburg.
One conspiracy charge related to the plot to kill Allan Gray auditor Stephen Mildenhall, Jean Daniel Nortier, Dr Mark Bristow and Mark Wellesley Woods. The other is for planning to kill Kebble.
The attempted murder charge relates to the shooting of Mildenhall in Cape Town in August 2005.—Sapa