Anti-climax for court attendees as Panayiotou case postponed to Friday

2016-11-10 20:50
Luthando Siyoni (Werner Hills, Netwerk24)

Luthando Siyoni (Werner Hills, Netwerk24)

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Port Elizabeth - Many people in the public gallery sighed in frustration in the Christopher Panayiotou trial courtroom as Judge Dayalin Chetty adjourned for the day without the State calling Luthando Siyoni to the witness stand.

Siyoni, a body builder, worked as a bouncer for Panayiotou at his Infinity Pub and Grub, and is alleged to have acted as a middleman, hiring Sizwezake Vumazonke to murder Panayiotou's wife Jayde.

Siyoni subsequently became a Section 204 witness and the charges against him were withdrawn in August last year.

Panayiotou, Sinethemba Nenembe and Zolani Sibeko are facing charges of conspiring, kidnapping, robbery and murder after Jayde was killed on April 21 last year.

They pleaded not guilty.

Vumazonke died in hospital in September.

Claim witness was assaulted

At the beginning of the trial Panayiotou asked in his plea explanation that the court consider a trial within a trial when it came to the admissibility of the evidence led by Siyoni.

He alleged that Siyoni's testimony implicating him had been obtained by the police assaulting Siyoni, and therefore any evidence led was tainted and needed to be ruled inadmissible.

Earlier on Thursday, State prosecutor Marius Stander argued that there were no grounds for a trial within a trial relating to the admissibility of Siyoni's evidence. 

He pointed out that there was no case law to substantiate having a trial within a trial when it came to Section 204 witnesses.

Advocate Terry Price SC, acting on behalf of Panayiotou, argued that Siyoni had still been an accused at the time of his confession and was at that stage not a Section 204 witness.

Chetty then ruled that the evidence would be led as part of the main trial.

Following the ruling the court adjourned until 14:15.

- Read the article here: No trial-within-a-trial for bouncer in Panayiotou case

Outstanding documentation

A large crowd had gathered outside the High Court waiting for the gates to reopen at 14:00 and Court A was packed, with not an open seat in the public gallery as people came to hear Siyoni's testimony.

However, they left disappointed because shortly after court reconvened Siyoni's attorney, Zolile Ngqeza, requested that the court adjourn for the day.

Ngqeza said there was certain documentation that he needed to be made available so that he could advise his client accordingly.

"I would not be fulfilling my duties should I allow the matter to resume without that documentation. I will do my best to finalise the matter so that we can resume tomorrow," he said.

Stander said all the documentation relating to the case was available in electronic format and could be made available should a memory stick or similar storage device be provided.

Before adjourning for the day Chetty cautioned Ngqeza, telling him to ensure his client was in court at 09:00 on Friday.

The trial resumes on Friday at 09:00. 

Read more on:    christopher panayiotou  |  port elizabeth  |  crime

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