/ 18 March 2021

Zane Kilian, the man accused of top cop’s murder, has been denied bail

Zane Kilian Returns To Court In South Africa
Murder accused Zane Kilian has again changed his legal team, this time because he and his family could not afford the two lawyers. (Photo by Brenton Geach/Gallo Images via Getty Images)

Murder-accused Zane Kilian will file an urgent bail appeal to the high court after his bail application was denied in the Bellville regional court in Cape Town on Thursday.

Kilian is the only suspect arrested for the murder of anti-gang unit detective Lieutenant-Colonel Charl Kinnear on 18 September last year outside his home in Bishop Lavis, Cape Town. 

After several delays, the court’s bail ruling marked exactly six months since the assassination of Kinnear. The court handed down the ruling during a full-court session with the late Kinnear’s wife, Nicolette, and their two sons, Carlisle and Casleigh Kinnear also present. 

Kilian, a former rugby player turned debt collector in Gauteng, was initially charged with murder, conspiracy to commit murder and the unlawful interception of communications. Additional charges, spurred by a Hawks investigation, were later filed against him, including fraud and another conspiracy to commit murder charge. The second conspiracy murder charge is in connection with the assassination attempt on the Cape Town lawyer William Booth on 9 April last year. This case is running separately in the Cape Town magistrate’s court.

Because of the Kinnear murder case being a schedule six offence, Kilian’s defence had to prove exceptional circumstances for his bail to be considered. 

However, the court found no evidence of any exceptional circumstances that would lead to him being granted bail. Instead, the court was not convinced that Kilian should be released from prison. 

The judge argued that the certificates handed in as evidence confirming Kilian is a private investigator — which later turned out to be false — show he is a dishonest person. The certificate was the defence’s proof of evidence that Kilian acted within his rights when he tracked thousands of cellphone numbers, including that of Kinnear. But it appeared the certificate has been forged. 

The falsified certificate also caused a disruption within Kilian’s own legal team and has led to the removal of one of his former advocates, Eckhard Rosemann. His second advocate, Johan van Aswegen, also recently withdrew from the case. He has been replaced by advocate Marius Botha.

In an effort to support his bail application, Kilian previously argued he has a child with autism who struggles to function during his absence. However, the medical report on the condition of his child was two years old, dating back to 2018. The report also says his son has autism, but that he is able to function without his father’s presence. 

Eric Ntabazalila, Western Cape spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority, afterwards described the accused’s bail application as “just asking [the] court to go with sympathy. There was nothing tangible.”

The case has been postponed until 15 April 2021 for further investigation, and while the state awaits the urgent bail appeal by the defence.

In response to the outcome of the bail application, Nicolette Kinnear said they had passed the “first hurdle”.

“We know this is not a sprint: it is definitely a marathon. Today was but the first hurdle. We are thankful. We are happy with the outcome,” she said.