Dead ‘shooter’s confession’ blocked in Panayiotou trial

2016-10-17 18:36
State prosecutor in the Panayiotou case, Marius Stander. (News24)

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

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Port Elizabeth - A supposed "confession" the man accused of shooting dead Jayde Panayiotou made to his aunt was not admitted as evidence in the Eastern Cape High Court in Port Elizabeth on Monday.

Prosecutor Marius Stander had called Zoleka Zekani to the stand as a witness to recall the day her nephew, Sizwezakhe Vumazonke, allegedly visited her in Kwanobuhle.

The State’s case was that he visited his aunt, a traditional healer (sangoma), the morning of April 21 2015 to "be cleansed", after allegedly killing Jayde.

She was found dead in a veld in KwaNobuhle, Uitenhage, the next day. She had been shot three times.

Her husband Christopher Panayiotou, Sinethemba Nenembe and Zolani Sibeko are on trial on charges of conspiring, kidnapping, robbing and killing Jayde. They pleaded not guilty.

Jayde was kidnapped while waiting for her lift outside her Stellen Glen complex on Deacon Road in Kabega Park, Port Elizabeth, on April 21.

She was holding a bag full of schoolbooks and a laptop. She was a teacher at Riebeek College Girls' High School in Uitenhage.

‘Shaking and shivering’

READ: Witness breaks down during Panayiotou trial

Vumazonke, believed to be the hitman hired by State witness Luthando Siyoni, died in a Port Elizabeth hospital in September. Siyoni worked as a bouncer at Panayiotou’s Infinity Cocktail Bar in Algoa Park.

Terry Price, for Panayiotou, objected to the evidence as Vumazonke could not defend himself.

Zekani described what happened that day, but did not reveal what he had spoken about.

"When Sizwe arrived at my place, I was in bed [with my husband]. It was just after the children left to go to school," she said.

He walked through the kitchen to their bedroom door and knocked. She put on her nightgown and went to the front room to meet him.

"He was shaking and shivering. His hands were shaking," she said, recalling that it was cold and cloudy that morning.

She went to the tap in the yard to bring water inside the house. She noticed a bag outside and opened it.

"It looked like there was a laptop and books inside. I went inside the house. I asked him, 'What bag is this?'"

Her nephew took the bag, slung it over his shoulder and left. She phoned his sister, but the phone went to voicemail. When she got hold of her cousin, she told her what had happened.

'Too dangerous'

As it happened: Tears and drama as Panayiotou case continues

Zekani made a statement to police in April. Officers asked her at the time to phone them if her nephew returned.

It was at this point that Stander brought an application to allow hearsay evidence.

He wanted the court to hear what Vumazonke had said to Zekani in the house and about the bag. He argued that the nature of the evidence would not prejudice the accused. It was simply to show the chain of events that unfolded from there.

Price argued that the accused would be prejudiced because the State had accused them of acting in common purpose.

"You can say what you like, whatever Marius Stander says, this is a confession. It is too dangerous."

Peter Daubermann, representing the other accused, said the application was a red herring. He believed the State wanted to use the evidence against his clients.

Judge Dayalin Chetty said he should perhaps look at Zekani’s full statement of the events that day. After it was handed up, he said: "I will not allow the statement."

The court adjourned for the day.

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Read more on:    jayde panayiotou  |  christopher panayiotou  |  crime

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