Car tracking expert dismissed with no further questions in Panayiotou case

2016-10-31 17:17
State prosecutor in the Panayiotou case, Marius Stander. (News24)

State prosecutor in the Panayiotou case, Marius Stander. (News24)

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Port Elizabeth - The expert witness in car tracking called by the state was dismissed without a single question being asked of him in cross examination, despite having been called back from Johannesburg on Friday and being asked to stand over until Monday to allow the defence to prepare.

Before Lorenz Stoger, fleet services manager of CarTrack, was called in, state prosecutor Marius Stander requested the opportunity to continue leading the witness as cross examination had not yet begun.

Stander told Judge Dayalin Chetty that he wished to ask Stoger about the equipment that was in the vehicle linked to the murder of Jayde.

Stoger had testified for the state on Monday October 24, and had been stood over to allow the defence to prepare their cross examination. He flew back to Port Elizabeth on Friday last week and was again asked to stand over until Monday.

Stander said the state had been able to secure the vehicle which was used from ZEMS and had it at court. He also indicated that he wished to clarify points on Stoger’s qualifications as an expert witness.

Expert witness debate

Terry Price, for Christopher Panayiotou, however objected saying that it was not necessary for Stander to introduce new evidence.

“This is again a case of trial by instalment or trial by ambush,” Price said.

Chetty said he understood Stander wished to highlight the efficacy of the equipment and asked Price if he would be challenging whether the equipment was in working order.

Price said he would not be and that the thrust of their argument was that Stoger could not be considered an expert witness.

Peter Daubermann, for Panayiotou's co-accused Sinethemba Nenembe and Zolani Sibeko, said he would also be arguing that Stoger did not qualify as an expert witness.

He said that despite the fact that Chetty had overturned his objection to Stoger as a witness when he had objected last week, he would be arguing that, based on the evidence before the court, Stoger did not meet the requirements and as such all evidence he had led was inadmissible.

READ MORE: Alleged hitman's vehicle outside Jayde's, friend's homes

Daubermann said Stander had realised he had not been sufficient in setting up his witness as an expert, in light of the objection that Daubermann himself had raised, and was now trying to lead additional evidence to prop up the state’s case.

Chuckles

Daubermann said while he would require access to the GPS device and the software in the vehicle, he did not need any clarity from Stoger on the matter.

"I still require access to the instrumentation and software, but that has nothing to do with evidence led here. I will be calling my own expert witnesses so that they can examine it," he said.

Stander countered by saying he wanted to ensure that as of October 31, the device was still working properly.

Daubermann said he would access the device and software under the necessary supervision in his own time.

Chetty then ruled that Stander would not be allowed to proceed with leading the witness.

Stoger was called in, sworn in and promptly told that neither Price nor Daubermann had any questions for him. He was then excused and left the witness box with a somewhat surprised look on his face amid chuckles from the public gallery.

Panayiotou, Nenembe and Sibeko are on trial on charges of conspiring, kidnapping, robbing, and killing Jayde on April 21 2015. They pleaded not guilty. The alleged hitman, Sizwezakhe Vumazonke, died in September.

Jayde Panayiotou, 29, was abducted outside her home in Kabega Park, Port Elizabeth, while waiting for her lift to Riebeeck Park High School on Tuesday, April 21. She was found shot dead in a veld outside KwaNobuhle township, Uitenhage, the following day.

The trial continues.

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

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