Panayiotou bail appeal date set

2015-07-03 09:42
Murder-accused Christopher Panayiotou in court to hear his bail judgment. (Derrick Spies, News24)

Murder-accused Christopher Panayiotou in court to hear his bail judgment. (Derrick Spies, News24)

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Port Elizabeth – Murder-accused Christopher Panayiotou could possibly be walking free ahead of his next scheduled court appearance after a date has finally been set for his appeal against the decision to deny him bail.

The National Prosecuting Authority has confirmed that Panayiotou’s appeal will be heard at the High Court in Grahamstown on July 20.

Panayiotou, 28, is accused of conspiring to have his wife, Jayde, 29, murdered.

It is alleged that he had a bouncer in his employ at Infinity club in Algoa Park, Luthando Siyoli, 31, hire a hitman, Sizwezakhe Vumazonke, 30, to kidnap and murder her.

This follows after Jayde disappeared while waiting for a lift to the school where she taught, on April 21. Her body was found the following day.

Bail denied

Panayiotou has previously failed to get bail on June 5 following a drawn-out application in which Magistrate Abigail Beeton said the State's case was “reasonably strong” and “decisive”.

Beeton said Panayiotou's dual citizenship with Cyprus, and the fact that he has no dependents, were also among the reasons he was not granted bail in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate's Court.

Beeton said if Investigating Officer Kanna Swanepoel had not told the court that Panayiotou had dual citizenship, the court would have remained ignorant to the facts surrounding his travel documents.

Panayiotou’s defence team, consisting of lawyer Alwyn Griebenow and advocate Terry Price, have brought in advocate Mike Hellens to assist with the application.

Hellens has held a position as an acting judge and has represented Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir, murdered mining mogul Brett Kebble and former Fidentia boss J Arthur Brown.

Defence unhappy with bail judgment

In his notice of appeal, Griebenow said Beeton had erred in several major aspects when she denied Panayiotou bail, saying she had erroneously made findings in favour of the State even though such evidence was contradicted by far more reliable evidence from the defence; dismissed numerous material factors put to the court by Panayiotou; elevated the concept of exceptional and compelling circumstances to a degree not required by law; and found Panayiotou to be a flight risk and that there was a likelihood he would interfere with witnesses, despite the fact that there was no reliable evidence supporting this.

Panayiotou and his co-accused are expected to appear in court on August 13 in connection with the charges against them.

Read more on:    jayde panayiotou  |  christopher panayiotou  |  port elizabeth  |  crime

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