Trio arrested for murder of 'steroid king’ Brian Wainstein post R100,000 bail each

22 December 2020 - 17:41 By philani nombembe
Alleged underworld figures Jerome Booysen, Mark Lifman and William Stevens leave the Cape Town magistrate's court after posting R100,000 bail.
Alleged underworld figures Jerome Booysen, Mark Lifman and William Stevens leave the Cape Town magistrate's court after posting R100,000 bail.
Image: Esa Alexander

After a drama-filled day, the underworld bosses up for the murder of alleged Irish steroid peddler Brian Wainstein emerged from the Cape Town magistrate's court.

Alleged underworld kingpin Mark Lifman, alleged Sexy Boys gang leader Jerome “Donkie” Booysen and alleged 27s gang leader William “Red” Stevens had just been granted R100,000 bail each after a two-and-a-half hour adjournment prompted by a bomb scare.

The trio handed themselves over to face murder, conspiracy to commit murder and money laundering charges. They emerged through the court’s back door and were immediately whisked away in a convoy of black German cars.

Although the state did not oppose their release on bail, the prosecution asked for stringent bail conditions. These included that they hand in their firearms to the police and be placed under house arrest.

The prosecution told the court that it has witnesses who have linked the trio to the crime, as well as “objective evidence”.

According to the state, Wainstein’s assassination was financed by Lifman. They then benefited from the illegal steroid business which continued after Wainstein’s death.

According to the state, the house arrest was meant not only to ensure that the accused attend court, but also to protect them. The prosecution said Booysen has survived six attempts on his life — including a shooting at a restaurant.

Only police officials and the media were allowed in court during the proceedings.

Lifman removed his mask several times to take swigs from a bottle of water. He and Booysen chatted from time to time. The two were represented by advocate Jantjie van Niekerk.

Van Niekerk put up a spirited fight to lower the bail amount, avoid house arrest and shoot down the state’s request that they hand over their firearms. He dismissed the conditions as  unreasonable.

“What has the handover of firearms got to do with attending court?” he asked. “It is unreasonable and cannot be substantiated.”

He said Lifman and Booysen had voluntarily handed in their passports and had known about their imminent arrest but did not try to evade it.

“House arrest is punitive. They [the prosecution] meant to punish [them]. Under the circumstances, [Lifman and Booysen] have been of assistance to the police.”

He asked the court to set bail at R20,000.

Stevens' lawyer Asgia Mia also put up a fight. He said his client had handed in his expired passport and could not afford the proposed bail amount as he earned a R1,800 pension. He said he could afford only R20,000, which his family members had raised. Mia said Stevens did not own a firearm.

But the prosecution sought to poke holes in the defence submissions. The prosecutor said both legal representatives had failed to emphasise the seriousness of the case. The state said the accused were not entitled to their firearms and that the police were yet to rule out the possibility that they were used in Wainstein’s murder. The prosecution said Lifman owns eight firearms and Booysen one.

The state argued that the trio would be able to pay the R100,000 because Lifman owns a hotel, Booysen owns properties that he rents out to students and Stevens also owns a property.

But Van Niekerk hit back. He said police had had three years to investigate the case and determine whether the firearms were used in the murder.

“The house arrest is abuse and punishment,” he said. “We cannot allow law enforcement to act like cowboys and bring people to court before the investigation is complete.”

The trio scored a minor victory. The court allowed them to keep their firearms and dismissed the house arrest. Instead, the three have to report to their nearest police stations every Monday between 8am and 6pm. They are not allowed to leave the Western Cape without the investigating officer’s knowledge.

The matter was postponed to February 9 for further investigation.