A legal battle is looming between the state and the lawyers for Anti-Gang Unit (AGU) officer, Sergeant Ashley Tabisher, after his bail was granted – and rescinded on the same day – at the Western Cape High Court.
On Monday, Judge President Yahya Hlophe granted the cop R5000 bail, but hours later withdrew it amid objections from state prosecutors.
Tabisher is accused of colluding with alleged underworld kingpin, Nafiz Modack.
Tabisher and Modack along with Zane Kilian, Jacques Cronje, Ricardo Morgan, Jannick Adonis and Amaal Jantjies have been accused of being members of the “Nafiz Modack Enterprise” which the state claims is behind the plot to kill AGU commander Charl Kinnear and his family.
Tabisher allegedly accepted a R10 000 bribe and a cellphone from Jantjies to leak information about planned AGU raids on Modack’s homes.
The dad of one has denied the allegations in the Blue Downs Magistrates’ Court, claiming that he was acting on the instructions of former AGU boss, Major-General Andre Lincoln.
Defence lawyer, Bruce Hendricks, says on Friday, he informed the court that he would be bringing an urgent application at the Western Cape High Court on Monday for Tabisher’s bail hearing to be heard.
“This is because he has been in custody for over 200 days and the bail hearings have been postponed more than 30 times. Meanwhile, my client is suffering from high blood pressure and medical reports show that he has blood in his urine and rectal bleeding,” said Hendricks.
“I brought the application because we believe this is malicious prosecution by the state who have not opposed the release of two other AGU officers facing the same charges and in one case the officer was found red-handed with the alleged bribe money.”
The lawyer says on Monday he brought an application under Rule 6 of the Uniform Rules of Court which governs how judges can determine the urgency of an application.
“Judge Hlophe applied his mind and granted him bail of R5000.
“I went straight to Blue Downs Court and handed in the order and they informed the orderlies at Goodwood Prison and I went to get him.”
Hendricks says as Tabisher stood ready to leave, he got a skrik when he was told by prison officials that the Hawks had arrived to authenticate the court order.
“It was found to be authentic but they held him unlawfully and in contempt of a court order as the state made an urgent application to have the order rescinded.
“Their application was granted by Hlophe and my client now has to remain in custody.
“We went to check the details at the High Court and there is no affidavit from the state prosecutor in the file and we are going into consultations about how to tackle this,” says Hendricks.
National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson, Eric Ntabazalila, says: “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.
“The court was made aware of what the NPA considered highly questionable and the Judge President agreed with the State and rescinded the order.”
He would not clarify what the NPA considered to be “highly questionable”.
But Hendricks believes the state is bang vir Tabisher: “Why target him the way they have and put so much resources into keeping him in prison while letting other police officers out?
“What does Tabisher know that makes them so scared of him? If the Judge President found it (the bail) questionable, how did he grant it in the first place?”