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Kelowna man accused in July 2022 killing denied bail Thursday

Accused killer denied bail

A Kelowna man facing a first-degree murder charge will remain behind bars while he awaits his jury trial next January, after he was denied bail Thursday.

Wyne Zablan has been in custody for more than 20 months, after a body was found near the Shelter Bay Marina on the west side of the William R. Bennett Bridge on the morning of July 29, 2022.

Earlier this week, Zablan applied for bail for the first time, but Thursday, Justice Allan Betton denied his application and ordered Zablan's further detention.

The submissions made during Zablan's bail hearing and the reasons for Justice Betton's decision are covered under a sweeping publication ban. The publication ban is in place to ensure the jury in the case is not biased prior to the trial.

Zablan's jury trial is scheduled for six weeks, beginning Jan. 20, 2025.

Police have released limited information about the killing and the identity of the deceased has never been publicly disclosed.

During a press conference a few days after the death, Kelowna RCMP Supt. Kara Triance said a vehicle was used in the alleged killing, but she didn't provide any further details.

A charge of first-degree murder implies the alleged homicide was both planned and deliberate.

The day after the body was found, police asked for the public's help in identifying the victim, describing him as a slim Asian man between 20 and 40 years old. Police announced they had identified the victim a few days later, but they never disclosed his identity, only stating that Zablan and the man knew each other.

While release of an accused person is the default presumption under Canadian law, and pre-trial detention is the exception not the rule, the burden of proof to show why bail should be granted shifts to the accused in more serious cases like murder.

As a result, a person charged with murder must prove why they should be released, rather than the Crown having to prove why they should be detained.

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