Panayiotou kept mum about passport - State

2015-05-26 17:54
(Derrick Spies, News24)

(Derrick Spies, News24)

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Port Elizabeth - Christopher Panayiotou could easily have informed the State that he had applied for his Cypriot passport and had dual citizenship but he chose not to, the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court heard on Tuesday.

Prosecutor Marius Stander argued Panayiotou was thus a flight risk and repeatedly questioned why he had not been forthcoming with this information.

He told the court these details had instead been obtained by investigating officer, Lieutenant Kanna Swanepoel, who did not have the authority to engage directly with the Cyprus government like Panayiotou did.

Speaking during the accused’s bail application, he said that by following correct procedures, the response from the embassy to Swanepoel was that the accused had a Cypriot ID and was the holder of a Cypriot passport.

Swanepoel had followed up by requesting a photo to confirm it was indeed the accused. He said it was not clear at the time what the date of the application for the passport was as it was written in Greek.

He wondered why Panayiotou had declared that he had handed over all his travel documents, but failed to say he had applied for the passport.

Stander said the court did not have the powers to instruct the Cypriot government to release the passport to police. In any event, Panayiotou could go to the embassy and request a temporary passport.

Panayiotou's lawyer, Terry Price, jumped up to object, saying Stander was not an expert on diplomatic rules.

Stander rebutted this by arguing it was a fact that the court of one country could not make an order against another country. Price submitted that the court’s jurisdiction was not relevant.

Panayiotou, 28, faces charges of conspiracy to commit murder, murder‚ kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances and defeating the ends of justice. Thando Siyoli‚ 31‚ and Sizwezakhe Vumazonke‚ 30‚ are Panayiotou’s co-accused.

The three are accused of murdering the 29-year-old Riebeek College teacher Jayde Panayiotou on April 21.

Stander said he would take the word of Panayiotou’s legal team if they could confirm they had spoken to the embassy and that the passport was still in its possession.

The magistrate asked why it had taken more than two years for the passport to be issued.

Stander said he had no idea. He could only confirm that an application was made in February 2013 but could not confirm that it was the same passport.

Read more on:    port elizabeth

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