Maverick Citizen

AGE OF THE ASSASSIN

Bail application for the accused in top cop Charl Kinnear’s murder delayed until February 2021

Zane Kilian faces charges of murder, conspiracy to commit murder and the unlawful interception of communications emanating from the assassination of Anti-Gang Unit Lieutenant-Colonel Charl Kinnear on 18 September 2020 in front of his home in Bishop Lavis, Cape Town. (Photo: Gallo Images / Brenton Geach)

Zane Kilian’s family has appealed to Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola to secure his release on bail, but the high-profile murder accused will be back in court in seven weeks.

Family representative Nicolene Kilian wrote to Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola shortly after an incident on Saturday, 6 December when a prisoner who was visibly sick, she claimed, entered Kilian’s cell at the Goodwood Correctional Facility.

Both Kilian and the prisoner were eventually tested for Covid-19 and, pending the outcome of the results, his scheduled bail application in Bellville Regional Court was postponed to Tuesday, 15 December.

“We have serious concerns for the safety of Zane while in custody, given the risk of the high-profile, public nature of this investigation. It is our belief that being incarcerated for any unnecessary extended period is placing his life at great risk, given the nature of the case,” she wrote.

Kilian, a former rugby player, faces charges of murder, conspiracy to commit murder and the unlawful interception of communications emanating from the assassination of Anti-Gang Unit Lieutenant-Colonel Charl Kinnear on 18 September in front of his home in Bishop Lavis, Cape Town. 

He “pinged” Kinnear’s phone 2,400 times until he was shot at close range inside his car. The state contended the pinging was instrumental in the plot to murder Kinnear. It’s on this basis that the state linked him to the incident and charged him accordingly.

On Friday, 11 December Kilian’s Covid-19 test result came back negative and his bail application was heard on Tuesday, 15 December. Kilian entered Court 5 with a new haircut and a broad smile, in hope that his bail application would be fully ventilated. He had hoped the court would decide within a day or two whether to release him. 

He hadn’t expected to be told that the bail application would be partly heard and postponed until February 2021. When his counsel, advocate Johan van Aswegen, told him that only his affidavit outlining his reason for release on bail would be read into the record, Kilian shook his head in disbelief.

Some of the pressing issues highlighted in the 18-page affidavit read out by Van Aswegen include that Kilian does not understand how he could be charged with murder, that his special-needs minor son has had “episodes” due to his absence, and that he runs a much higher risk than other prisoners of getting hurt in prison.

Van Aswegen also told the court that Kilian has a valid passport and erred in telling the police he did not have valid travel documents. His passport will be handed to the investigating officer.

Prosecutor Blaine Lazarus informed the court that the Hawks investigator in this matter had been placed in isolation after he came into contact with a person who had tested positive for Covid-19. For this reason, the State was unable to continue with its case and read out the affidavit of the investigating officer.

Kilian, who intends pleading not guilty to all charges, maintains the only factor linking him to the murder of Kinnear was the fact that he pinged the cop’s phone to locate him. Kilian has cooperated with the investigation and told the Hawks that he does not know Kinnear, had no reason to harm him and that Kinnear had many enemies, including cops. He said anyone could have been responsible for his murder.

One of the reasons the state opposes bail is that the accused allegedly phoned a witness to ask that they delete him from a system that provides credit reporting and “skip traces”, which helps locate debtors who have “skipped” town. The state will also contend that Kilian’s skills and familiarity with some witnesses put the latter at risk.

The Hawks also believe that Kilian’s release on bail would jeopardise his safety and the safety of those close to him, because of his alleged association with underworld figures and that his position within this syndicate was pivotal in the Kinnear killing. 

After the proceedings, Kilian’s lawyer Eric Bryer said: “My client was visibly upset and was hoping to be released as soon as possible. We had no idea that the state would not be in a position to proceed and this Covid-19 seems to be playing tricks with all of us.”

He said that because the bail application had begun, there was no point in filing an urgent application at the Western Cape High Court. Kilian is back in court on Tuesday, 2 February 2021. DM

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