Panayiotou case adjourns over defence confusion

2015-05-20 11:30
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GALLERY: Christopher Panayiotou back in court

Murder-accused Christopher Panayiotou returns to the PE Magistrate's Court where his bail hearing continues. View pics from the court here.

Port Elizabeth - Court has been adjourned until noon on Wednesday so that Christopher Panayiotou could discuss the issue of his legal representation in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate's Court.

This was after State advocate Marius Stander told the court that defence advocate Terry Price would not be representing Panayiotou on Wednesday and would be replaced by advocate Theuns Roelofse.

Magistrate Abigail Beaton indicated that she was not happy with the substitution.

She said Price had not informed the court that he would not be present and she was concerned about whether Panayiotou would be fairly represented.

Panayiotou is accused of master-minding the murder of his wife, Jayde.

Request for postponement

Roelofse said he would be asking the court for a postponement because there were five affidavits filed by the State which the defence did not have time to respond to.

However, Stander told the court a postponement was not necessary as the State would read their case into the record and then after that the defence could proceed.

Roelofse asked for the court to stand down until 14:00.

Beaton asked Panayiotou if he understood what was going on.

She said she did not want him to be in a position to claim that he was not afforded fair representation as such could claim that he was given an unfair trial.

Panayiotou said he understood and asked to be allowed to address his attorney.

Beaton asked Roelofse if he was prepared to represent Panayiotou until the end of his case.


The matter was first adjourned for 15 minutes to allow his lawyer Alwyn Griebenow and Roelofse to discuss the matter with Panayiotou.

After the adjournment Roelofse returned to tell the court that Panayiotou understood that he could be prejudiced.

He said the defence team had been in contact with Price, who was in Johannesburg, and asked that the matter stand down till 14:00.

Beaton addressed Panayiotou again who told her that he was not comfortable to proceed with Roelofse as his representative and would like to get feedback from Price.

Stander said he had concerns about time constraints.

‘Forked tongue’

Beaton accused Roelofse of speaking with a forked tongue because he was asking for a postponement until 14:00, however nothing would change till then.

She made it clear that the situation was unethical and bemoaned the fact that no one had apologised for Price's absence.

Beaton has given Roelofse an hour to find out from Price if he would be able to proceed with the matter.

Before the court adjourned, Roelofse told Beaton that he was not sure the he would be able to contact Price because he was apparently flying to Port Elizabeth.


Panayiotou, 28, Thando Siyoli, 31 and Sizwezakhe Vumazonke, 30, were arrested in the days following Jayde's disappearance.

She was last seen waiting outside their home in Kabega Park for her lift to Riebeeck Park High School on Tuesday, April 21. She was found dead outside Kwanobuhle township in Uitenhage the following day.

He is facing charges of conspiracy to commit murder; robbery with aggravated circumstances; kidnapping; murder; and defeating the ends of justice.

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

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