Drama as prison officials refuse to release Modack co-accused on bail despite court order

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Ashley Tabisher. (Ashley Tabisher, Facebook)
Ashley Tabisher. (Ashley Tabisher, Facebook)
  • AGU member Ashley Tabisher took the State by surprise when he got bail after an urgent application on Monday.
  • The Department of Correctional Services allegedly refused to let him out of prison, and by Monday night the order was rescinded.
  • Tabisher's lawyer said all the paperwork for his client's release was in order.

Anti-Gang Unit (AGU) member Ashley Tabisher, who is a co-accused in the case involving the murder of AGU detective Charl Kinnear, was granted bail by Western Cape High Court Judge President John Hlophe in a surprise move on Monday.

However, in a dramatic turn of events, the Department of Correctional Services allegedly refused to release him, and after a long period of delays, the order was rescinded, also by Hlophe.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said Hlophe rescinded the "questionable" order on application by the State.

Tabisher's lawyer, Bruce Hendricks, told News24 on Tuesday that Goodwood Prison would not let Tabisher leave, despite him paying the R5 000 bail, getting a receipt and a J1 form that allows a prison to release an inmate.

"He was waiting at reception," Hendricks added.

READ | Nafiz Modack not at court due to 'mix up', co-accused brother also absent for health reasons

Hendricks said he applied for Tabisher's urgent release on bail in terms of section 6 (12) of the Uniform Rules of the Court.

This allows for an application to be handled differently. It is used in urgent cases such as preventing a child about to board a plane from being taken out of the country, and the order takes effect quickly.

Hendricks had tried again last Friday to apply for bail for Tabisher, on the grounds that his family needed him desperately. He also argued that he was not the cause of all of the long delays in the bail application, which had been reopened for his co-accused Nafiz Modack to file another affidavit.

However, instead of getting an answer there and then, it was postponed to 2 December for the State to reply.

Tabisher was arrested in May, and has been in custody ever since, having returned to court at least 30 times by last Friday.

He stands accused in a huge case that includes Modack, former rugby player Zane Kilian, Jacques Cronje, car salesman Ricardo Morgan, Amaal Jantjies and Jannick Adonis.

Zane Kilian.
Gallo Images

The allegations against them revolve around the attempted murder and murder of Kinnear, breaches of telecommunications laws for cellphone location tracking, the attempted murder of lawyer William Booth, and the kidnap and extortion of a finance manager.

Tabisher, a sergeant in the AGU, is accused of agreeing to go on to Modack's payroll to inform him when the police are planning to raid his home.

Hendricks said Hlophe, who was the duty judge for urgent applications on Monday, granted the order of bail for Tabisher on Monday.

To fulfil the administrative processes, Hendricks had to go and pay the bail at the Blue Downs Magistrate's Court, where the main bail application was being heard.

Hendricks did this, got a bail receipt, and Magistrate Deon van der Spuy signed the J1 form - a "liberation" form that has to be given to prison authorise for them to let an inmate out.

READ | Modack accused of paying former top cop for off-book vehicle recoveries

He was told the police had to take the J1 form to Goodwood Prison themselves, so he went to Goodwood Prison to wait for Tabisher.

However, the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) would not let Tabisher out.

Hendricks said they told him that the Hawks had called them to say they were checking the authenticity of the bail order.

"I waited and waited," said Hendricks.

Eventually, he went to the Goodwood police station to lay a contempt of court complaint against the DCS.

While he was there, the DCS called him and told him they were trying to sort everything out.

However, on Monday evening, Hendricks was sent an email indicating that the State had applied for the bail order to be rescinded, and that the order to rescind had been granted.

INVESTIGATION | Targeting AGU Team C: How Zane Kilian tracked anti-gang cop Charl Kinnear and his team 

"The NPA and Hawks successfully revoked the bail granted to Sergeant Ashley Tabisher," said Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Thandi Mbambo. She said it was agreed that his application would continue as planned in Blue Downs.

Department of Correctional Services spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said: "A J1 was issued for his release. However, whilst in process, the court revoked the bail that was granted. He therefore remains in custody."

NPA spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said the order was indeed rescinded after an application by the State later on Monday.

"After learning about the 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.

"The court was made aware of what the NPA considered highly questionable, and the Judge President (Hlophe) agreed with the State and rescinded the order."

The order states that Tabisher will remain in custody until the finalisation of his bail hearing at the Blue Downs Magistrate's Court, which will be heard again on 2 December.

On Tuesday, Hendricks said he was investigating Tabisher's options.

Hendricks is acting pro bono for Tabisher.

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