Courtroom scuffle during Panayiotou adjournment

2015-07-20 21:05
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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Grahamstown – The father of murdered teacher Jayde Panayiotou and the lawyer defending her husband, who is accused of killing her, lashed out at each other in the Grahamstown High Court on Monday.

During an adjournment in murder-accused Christopher Panayiotou’s appeal against the Port Elizabeth Court’s ruling denying him bail, Jayde’s father Derick Inggs tried to get past a group of men that included advocate Terry Price. The event was filmed by eNCA.

Appearing to be in a hurry and trying to squeeze past the group, Inggs puts his hand against one man’s lower back and nudges him. The bespectacled fellow seems taken aback. As Inggs passes Price, he appears to butt his arm against the lawyer. Price delivers a backhander to Inggs's lower back with an audible slap.

“Did you push me? Did you push me?” Price says.

“No, you pushed me,” Inggs says, facing him.

“Did you push me? I have a witness. Just get out of here,” says Price, turning away and adjusting his robe.

Inggs, who is wearing a black T-shirt with the words “#justiceforJAYDE”, leaves the court through the side entrance.

After the day’s proceedings were adjourned, Price would not comment, other than to say he was pushed and pushed back.

Jayde Panayiotou’s sister Toni Inggs later posted on her Facebook page that Price is unprofessional and that “this is all just pathetic”.

“Him [Price] and the clowns were taking up the whole area,” she wrote, trying to explain her father’s behaviour.

Mike Hellens, SC, who is also on Panayiotou's legal team, earlier argued before Judge Glen Goosen that his client should not be kept in St Albans prison, Port Elizabeth, "where human beings are packed together and forced to defecate in front of one another".

It is inhumane, he said.

Goosen heard that Panayiotou is in a single cell and is allowed out for only one hour a day.

Bail denied

In denying Panayiotou bail on June 5, Port Elizabeth Magistrate Abigail Beeton said prison is not intended to be a holiday.

Hellens told Goosen it would be unconstitutional to have Panayiotou kept in solitary confinement while he is still innocent and until proved guilty.

Should the appeal fail, Panayiotou will spend at least another year in jail before his trial starts, said Hellens.

Prosecutor Marius Stander said that had it not been for investigating officer Kanna Swanepoel, the court would have remained ignorant about the fact that Panayiotou has applied for a Cypriot passport.

Stander said Panayiotou’s lawyers had been told he had dual citizenship, but they decided it was not relevant and did not mention it during his bail application.

"Evidence was selectively placed before the court to indicate that the appellant [Panayiotou] had nowhere to go. Now we have to ask ourselves: why was it excluded?

“The only inference is that the appellant does not intend to stand trial.”

Goosen will hand down judgment on the appeal on July 28.

Panayiotou allegedly hired Luthando Siyoli, 31, a bouncer in his employ at the Infinity club in Algoa Park, Port Elizabeth, to find a hitman, Sizwezakhe Vumazonke, 30, to kidnap and murder his wife.

During his bail application it emerged that the financial strain of having to support a mistress, Chanelle Coutts, in addition to a wife, may have led to the murder.

Jayde was kidnapped on Tuesday, April 21, while waiting outside her complex in Kabega Park for her lift to Riebeek College Girls' High School in Uitenhage, where she taught. Her body was found near KwaNobuhle, Uitenhage, the next day.

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

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