Murder-accused businessman lays claim against top cop

2015-06-09 12:15
Retired detective Piet Byleveld. (Simone Kley, Netwerk24)

Retired detective Piet Byleveld. (Simone Kley, Netwerk24)

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Former top cop Piet Byleveld should by Thursday finish outlining his defence in the R600 000 defamation case filed against him by a Sandton businessman accused of murder, Netwerk24 reported on Tuesday.

The businessman, Peter Roberts, has been provisionally charged for the murder of 35-year-old Lee-Ann Palmarozza, who died while the pair was on holiday in Mauritius.

Palmarozza's body was found in a pool on December 28, 2014 at the luxury Anahita resort on the island.

She had been found with marks on her throat, and had been unconscious when she fell into the water, where she presumably drowned.

The cause of death was asphyxiation, her brother Shaun Palmarozza had said.

Defamation claim

Roberts’ claim against Byleveld stems from remarks the detective made on February 25 2015 in an interview with Darren Scott and Jeremy Mansfield during an online radio broadcast.

Nicqui Galaktiou, of the law firm Brian Kahn, argued that Byleveld's words could be considered defamatory in the context of the broadcast.

According to Galaktiou, listeners would deduce that Roberts was guilty of the murder of his girlfriend before the investigation was completed.

Byleveld has already given notice that he will oppose the claim in the High Court in Johannesburg.


Roberts, a multimillionaire businessman and co-owner of the Anahita resort, claims he and Palmarozza were visiting friends at a bar on the night of her death.

Roberts claimed they parted ways at the pool, after he chose to take a shower instead. He later found her body in the dark at the pool's deep end.

Palmarozza's death was initially treated as an accident. Police in Mauritius at the time told Roberts not to leave the island while the investigation was ongoing.

According to local media, he was arrested at the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport after allegedly trying to disobey the order to stay on the island.

A murder docket was opened after Palmarozza’s autopsy showed she had multiple bruises to her body.

The government initially opposed bail, arguing that the businessman was a flight risk. His bail application was rejected in May.

According to Netwerk24, his legal team is looking for an alternate way to justify bail. Roberts claims his human rights are being violated.

He is still in custody.

Read more on:    mauritius  |  johannesburg  |  crime
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