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Accused Kelowna murderer denied bail after waiting nearly 2 years for trial

Zablan was charged with first degree murder after the body of Fung Sheng Lau was found in Okanagan Lake on July 29, 2022
RCMP were called to an area near Shelter Bay Marina around 1:15 p.m. on Friday July, 29, 2022, after recieving a call from a member of the public. (Gary Barnes/Capital News)

The person accused of killing a man who was found on the shores of Okanagan Lake back in 2022, will remain in custody until his trial.

In a Kelowna B.C. Supreme Courtroom on April 11, Justice Betton ruled that the accused, Wyne Zablan, must remain in custody and denied his application for bail.

Earlier in the week, a bail hearing was held and Justice Betton heard evidence from both the Crown and defendant about why and why not Zablan should be kept in custody.

READ MORE: Man accused of murder after body found in Okanagan Lake applies for bail

Zablan was charged with first-degree murder after the body of Fung Sheng Lau was found on the shore of Okanagan Lake, near the Shelter Bay Marina, on July 29, 2022.

In Canada, bail is a constitutional right and all people accused of a crime are able to apply for their release.

However, in cases where a person is charged with a serious crime, also called an indictable offence, the accused must prove that they deserve to be granted bail. This process is called ‘reverse onus,’ and it places the burden of proof on the accused, rather than the Crown prosecutor.

In a reverse onus situation, the presumption is that the accused ought to be detained while awaiting their trial.

Justice Betton ruled that the burden of proof required in a reverse onus case was not met and Zablan is to remain in custody.

Two publication bans have been imposed on Zablan’s case, meaning that no details of the case arising from the bail hearing can be published.

READ MORE: Man charged with murder after body found in Okanagan Lake appears in Kelowna Court

On July 29, when Lau’s body was found the RCMP asked for the public’s assistance in identifying the victim. At the time, the police described the victim as a man of Asian ethnicity, between 20-40 years old and of average height. The Kelowna RCMP also told the public that a vehicle was involved in Lau’s death.

Zablan was arrested shortly after Lau was found dead and has remained in custody since.

Details involving the incidents that led up to and followed Lau’s death are protected under publication bans and cannot be published before the trial begins.

Zablan’s case will be tried by a jury. The trial is scheduled to begin on Jan. 20, 2025, in a Kelowna B.C. Supreme courtroom.

Jacqueline Gelineau

About the Author: Jacqueline Gelineau

I'm a reporter in the beginning stages of my career. I joined the team at Capital News in November 2021...
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