AGE OF THE ASSASSIN
Judge John Hlophe grants bail to Anti-Gang Unit cop implicated in Charl Kinnear murder — then rescinds it
Controversy surrounds the circumstances under which Anti-Gang Unit Sergeant Ashley Tabisher was released on R5,000 bail following an urgent application filed at the Western Cape High Court on Monday, 22 November. However, Tabisher’s relief was short-lived when the same court and presiding officer — Western Cape Judge President John Hlope — rescinded the decision hours later.
In terms of the initial order granted by Judge Hlophe, former cop Ashley Tabisher, who faces charges relating to the 2020 murder of Anti-Gang Unit detective Charl Kinnear, was released on R5,000 bail.
In terms of the bail conditions, Tabisher was to remain at his residential address in Matroosfontein, refrain from contacting any state witness, not leave the jurisdiction of the Western Cape and report to the Elsies River police station every Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 8am and 10pm. He was also forbidden from entering the Faure police base of the AGU.
But Tabisher’s hopes were dashed when the Department of Correctional Services at Goodwood Prison refused to release him. This was after a dramatic turn of events, when the department was informed that the order for his release had been rescinded.
On Tuesday, the Western Cape regional National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila told Maverick Citizen that the NPA had not been aware of the urgent application filed in the Western Cape High Court.
“After learning about an impending release of Ashley Tabisher on bail of R5,000, the NPA brought an application to challenge the release of the accused as we considered the application for his release highly questionable… Judge President John Hlophe agreed with the State and rescinded the order,” Ntabazalila said.
Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Thandi Mbambo confirmed that the NPA and the Hawks were successful in their bid to have the bail granted to Tabisher revoked, adding that his application would continue at the Blue Downs Magistrates’ Court as initially agreed.
The new draft order reads: “The order granted of 22 November is rescinded and that Tabisher shall remain in custody in the Blue Downs case pending the finalisation for bail hearing in front of Magistrate Van der Spuy.”
The irony is that Tabisher’s urgent application comes two days after his legal representative, advocate Bruce Hendricks, filed an application for the separation of his bail application on 19 November in the Blue Downs Regional Court.
In essence, Tabisher asked the Blue Downs court to separate his bail application from those of alleged underworld figure Nafiz Modack, former rugby player turned private investigator Zane Kilian and Jacques Cronje. Only co-accused Ricardo Morgan, facing a count of money laundering, is out on bail of R50,000.
Tabisher was arrested in May 2021 on allegations that he received R10,000 from Nafiz Modack to keep him informed of any planned raids on his (Modack’s) home.
Evidence led by the State indicated that Tabisher had entered into an allegedly corrupt relationship with Amaal Jantjies and Modack during November 2019.
It is the State’s case that the two, with Janick Adonis, an alleged Junky Funky Kids gang member, purportedly carried out five attempts on the life of the late AGU detective Charl Kinnear.
The conspiracy to commit murder and alleged corruption between Modack and Tabisher is part of the combined indictment which includes co-accused Kilian, Cronje, Morgan, Jantjies and Adonis.
The charges against the seven accused in the combined indictment include the murder of Kinnear on 18 September 2020 in front of his house in Bishop Lavis, a failed attempt on the life of criminal lawyer William Booth, contravening the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, racketeering, conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to possess explosives, corruption, extortion, intimidation, money laundering, kidnapping and the contravention of the Electronic Communication Act.
Tabisher’s argument is that he is not an accused in the assassination of Kinnear and the attempted murder of criminal laywer William Booth in April 2020. Hence the application for the separation of his bail application from those of Kilian, Modack and Cronje.
Prior to his incarceration, Tabisher, on 2 May 2012, had been receiving medication for high blood pressure, but the court heard his health had deteriorated “to the point where blood is in his urine and stool”.
“My four-year-old daughter cannot stop crying and had to be taken out of school. She suffers from insomnia and is traumatised to the extent where she cannot attend school. I’m fearing that my continued incarceration will scar my child for life.
“My wife, Rene, suffers from anxiety and is traumatised to the extent that she is now taking sleeping medication in order to get some rest. My wife cannot continue to sustain my household and our family for much longer. Their health and safety is at risk,” Tabisher claimed in his affidavit.
Tabisher’s affidavit indicates that he is still employed by the police. On Monday, 22 November, police spokesperson Captain FC Van Wyk confirmed that Tabisher was still in custody and that he had been suspended in terms of SAPS departmental regulations.
The State’s response to the controversy surrounding Tabisher’s urgent high court application and reasons why he should not be released on bail will be outlined in its replying affidavit at his next appearance.
Tabisher, Modack, Morgan and Cronje are back in the Blue Downs Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, 2 December. DM/MC
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