Cross examination of captain in Panayiotou case continues

2017-04-26 22:20
Christopher Panayiotou. (Werner Hills, Netwerk24)

Christopher Panayiotou. (Werner Hills, Netwerk24)

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Port Elizabeth - The cross examination of the investigating officer in the case against Christopher Panayiotou, Captain Kanna Swanepoel, began in the Port Elizabeth High Court on Wednesday. 

Panayiotou and his co-accused, Sinethemba Nenembe and Zolani Sibeko, are facing charges of conspiring, kidnapping, robbing and killing Jayde, who was abducted outside her townhouse complex in Kabega Park and later murdered in a field near KwaNobuhle on April 21 2015. A fourth suspect, Sizwezakhe Vumazonke, the alleged hitman, died before the trial began.

Swanepoel was called to testify in the trial within a trial to determine the admissibility of the recording of Panayiotou and his bouncer, Luthando Siyoni, the alleged middleman turned state witness shortly after Jayde’s murder.

Panayiotou’s defence council have argued that Siyoni was tortured into making his confession and, as such, all further evidence should be inadmissible as “fruit of the poisonous tree”.

Swanepoel returned to the stand on Wednesday, where he was cross examined by Panayiotou’s defence council, Advocate Terry Price. 

Price didn't hold anything back while interrogating Swanepoel on various aspects of his earlier testimony. Price repeatedly asked Swanepoel about Siyoni’s legal representation and questioned if he had not tried to convince Siyoni to get different legal council.

Price said he had witnesses who would testify that Swanepoel had tried to convince them to leave their attorneys and take new council.

Swanepoel, who continuously made notes while on the stand, said Siyoni had not been able to afford an attorney and legal aid had been approached to provide representation, which led to the appointment of attorney Van der Spuy. 

“Siyoni didn't have money for a blanket. He didn't have money for a radio. His parents didn't have money to take a taxi from Kwazakhele to the police station. We had to send someone to fetch them,” Swanepoel said. 

Foul language

Price also questioned Swanepoel on the reasoning behind Siyoni being placed in protective custody at the Humewood Police Station’s holding cells. 

Swanepoel said Siyoni had been given the impression that he feared his life was in danger after unidentified men visited his home. Swanepoel said there had been heightened concern over witnesses being gunned down at the time and a task team had been established to investigate. 

Price rebutted by instructing Swanepoel not to generalise and to remain within the confines of the case and that no witnesses had been gunned down in this case. 

Price also raised concerns that Siyoni had complained that Van der Spuy had never visited him, but Swanepoel said Van der Spuy had consulted with Siyoni. 

“My understanding of never means not once. And Van der Spuy visited him on at least two occasions in my presence,” said Swanepoel.

Price then confronted Swanepoel about foul language that was allegedly used by state advocate Marius Stander during interviews with Panayiotou’s mistress, Chanelle Coutts.

Price asked Swanepoel if he could recall Stander asking Coutts why she was with Panayiotou, asking her if it was because he had a “groot piel” (big penis) or if it was because he was a “lekker naai” (good in bed). 

Swanepoel said he could not recall that being said. 

Perlemoen kingpin

Price also said Stander had asked Coutts if she was happy to see him and when she replied, “No, absolutely not,” Stander had responded with, “Then you must be lesbian, because all women are happy to see me.”

Swanepoel again said he did not recall such an exchange.

Before court proceedings began Price, who had just arrived at the High Court as the gates opened, was confronted by a man, later identified as William Smith. 

An agitated Smith exchanged words with Price before walking off. The exchange is believed to be in connection with the case against alleged perlemoen kingpin, Julian Brown. 

Price said before the confrontation he had been receiving calls from Smith and would be seeking an interdict against him. 

The case continues on Friday.


Read more on:    christopher panayiotou  |  port elizabeth  |  crime

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