AS IT HAPPENED: Christopher has a pattern of hiding evidence - Panayiotou trial prosecutor

2017-10-26 09:25

There are closing arguments in the Christopher Panayiotou trial in the Eastern Cape High Court in Port Elizabeth.

Follow News24 correspondent Derrick Spies live from the court.


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Last Updated at 15:31
26 Oct 11:54

Daubermann says he has a trial set down for next week, but Chetty says he will make arrangements  

Court is adjourned to Tuesday October 31 at 09:30

26 Oct 11:53

26 Oct 11:52

Chetty: can we deal with it next week.  

Price: I can deal with the matter on Tuesday

26 Oct 11:52

Judge Chetty: I will hear you tomorrow morning  

Price: There is no way I will be ready by tomorrow. It's 95 pages

26 Oct 11:51
Price says the court has been significantly misled

26 Oct 11:51
Price says he has drafted his heads but he needs lots of time to prepare

26 Oct 11:51

In respect of accused 3 it is my submission that he should be convicted of murder and aggrevated robbery

Stander rests

26 Oct 11:50

26 Oct 11:50

It is my respective submission  

Accused 1 and 4 should be convicted of the murder

26 Oct 11:49
Gounden’s evidence is accordingly not reasonably, possibly true and cannot be accepted as the truth.  It is unfortunately inherently false and stands to be rejected out of hand because Your Lordship has to apply your mind not only to the merits and demerits of the State and defence witnesses but also to the probabilities of the case.

26 Oct 11:48

26 Oct 11:47
226.    The damning evidence of Siyoni, including the electronic and audio recording thereof, was never challenged, only the fact that Siyoni was not participating voluntarily.  In other words, all the other legal requirements for the meeting and conduct aimed at verifying the truth of the allegations by the accomplice, were admitted, if not explicitly, at the very least impliedly.

26 Oct 11:47
Stander is now dealing with the issue of the sting operation and the evidence given by DDPPs Gounden and Goberdan

26 Oct 11:47

He goes over it briefly, saying the matter was dealt with extensively in the section 174 application brought by Daubermann

225.    It is my respectful submission that the only inference that can be drawn from the above evidence is that accused 3 was indeed in the Etios during the events of 21 April 2015 and from 7:52 AM on 21 April 2015 he was driving the Etios.

26 Oct 11:46
Stander is now going through the references to Nenembe and Sibeko

26 Oct 11:46

176.    There are certain extractions that clearly illustrate the involvement of accused 1. I wish to draw the Court’s attention to a few examples:

CP – Did these guys blit?

TS – Which ones?

CP – Your friend.

TS – Ya, Sizwe.

CP – Did they tell anything?

TS – No, even them they are on the run.

CP – Oh is it?…………….

CP – But that’s what I said to you. It became kidnapping and then a murder instead of just making it a robbery outside the house.…………..

CP – Yeah I am going to be OK as long as they never know about us Thando. I never ever, I only ever helped you with the gym, I never did anything with you. I’ll sort out your family, you hide low OK.…………  

CP – No, these boys made it big. I told you to let them do it outside the house and take the bags and the rings and then they didn’t take the watch or anything. 

TS – They just left everything? 

CP – They just left everything there. You see, so it looks like a hit now. So they are after me, and that’s why I can’t just meet you in front of people like this Thando.

26 Oct 11:44
174.    It is my submission that even prior to accused 1 and Siyoni meeting in the vehicle, based on the totality of the evidence up to that point in time, the only inference that can be made is that accused 1 contracted Siyoni to have the deceased killed.

26 Oct 11:44
The answer is very simple. He needs to assist Siyoni in evading arrest in order to prevent the entire conspiracy coming into the open.

26 Oct 11:42

Stander points out that Panayiotou calls Siyoni on the 29th. Why would he call him?

It is very simple. He needs Siyoni to disappear

26 Oct 11:41
170.    Withholding information from the investigating team and furnishing them with false information is nothing new for accused 1. It is the evidence of Coutts that the decision was taken to wipe the cellular phones of her and accused 1 in order for the police not to gain access to the content.

26 Oct 11:41
Stander says when one looks at the video, Panayiotou's argument that he had gone to the meeting to get information for the police was a lie, as evidenced by when he searches Siyoni to see if he is wearing a wire

26 Oct 11:40
Stander says Panayiotou had blatantly lied in his bail application to say that he had informed the police of the meeting.

26 Oct 11:39

168.    It is further the undisputed evidence before this Court that at no stage did accused 1 inform the police of his meeting with LS. The high water mark for him is the fact that at 16:23 PM he informed Koen that Siyoni wanted to meet with him. He would in any event not have been able to inform either Koen, during the 16:23 PM conversation, or Eksteen, earlier the afternoon, of the meeting because the venue of the meeting, at that stage, had not been arranged. It was only during the phone call between accused 1 and Siyoni at 17:24 PM where the meeting place was determined. See exhibit BG5 in this regard. The first meeting place at McDonald’s was arranged during the 16:54 PM phone call. See exhibit BG5 pages 43, 44, 46 and 47. See exhibit CP lines 28 and 29. They cellular phone billing of accused 1, exhibit G7, indicates that after 16:54 PM there were no communication between accused 1 and any police official. It is therefore my further submission that accused 1 did not want the police to know about his meeting with Siyoni, or for that matter the content of his conversation with Siyoni. This submission is off course supported by the viseo footage of the meeting in the vehicle showing how accused 1 was searching Siyoni in order to ascertain whether he had a recording device on him.

169.    During his meeting with Eksteen at about 14:00 PM accused 1 blatantly lied to Eksteen when he indicated he does not know why Siyoni was contacting him. The previous evening during call 2 Siyoni told accused 1 that he was in deep trouble and needed to talk. During call 7 Siyoni told accused 1 that the police are after him and that he needs money, just a small amout of about R2,000-00. Later during the same conversation Siyoni indicates he needs about R4,000-00. During call 9 Siyoni informs accused 1 that the police were at his house, he is scared to be arrested and needs money to leave in order to prevent being arrested. At no stage does accused 1 ask why are the police looking for you, that is even after Siyoni informs him “Hey boss you know this thing”. See exhibit BG5. It is my submission that the content of the conversations between accused 1 and Siyoni as set out in exhibit BG5 proves beyond a reasonable doubt the fact that accused 1 is involved in the kidnapping and murder of the deceased.

26 Oct 11:38
The concealment of his communication with Siyoni doesn't end here. I deal with it from paragraph 168 onwards.... specifically with it on 172 onwards

26 Oct 11:37
Let us not make Mawonga a liar. There is a pattern by accused 1 to destroy SIM cards

26 Oct 11:37

He wanted to conceal his relationship with Siyoni  

He had already told Siyoni to destroy the SIM card

26 Oct 11:36
He knew that the SIM card had been destroyed.

26 Oct 11:36
It is the undisputed evidence of constable Koen that on 29 April 2015 at 16:23 PM he contacted accused 1. See exhibit BW1. During this conversation he was informed that Siyoni wanted to meet with accused 1. Koen requested accused 1 to furnish him with the contact number of Siyoni. It is the undisputed evidence of Koen that the number that was furnished to him by accused 1 was ***4158

26 Oct 11:35

26 Oct 11:34
I started off my argument saying I want to, for the minute, stay away from the video recording

26 Oct 11:33
It is my submission that this number was used by accused 1 to conceal his communication with Siyoni during the period 5 December 2014 – 5 March 2015, when Siyoni was searching for a hitman.

26 Oct 11:33
Stander points that when looking at Siyoni's phone, there were no less than 26 instances of communication between Siyoni and accused 1 and 28 instances of communication between Siyoni and “Happy Trigger” and “Happy Trigger 2”. This is for the period 5 December 2014 - 5 March 2014.

26 Oct 11:31

Between the period 30 January 2015 - 5 March 2015 there were a total of 17 calls made from this number  


Because he wanted to conceal his communication with Siyoni

26 Oct 11:31

Upon scrutinising this cellular phone billing one will note that with the exception of six calls, all the other calls were made to Siyoni.  

Between the period 5 December 2014 - 20 January 2015 there were 19 calls, 17 of these calls were made to Siyoni.

26 Oct 11:30
Stander points out a second no linked to Panayiotou.

26 Oct 11:29

26 Oct 11:28
If we look at the objective facts, there was no time to search. It is a smokescreen

26 Oct 11:28
At 00:56, Siyoni is back at home and calls Vumazonke to come and fetch his money

26 Oct 11:27
So... no-one has searched. They have been drinking cooldrinks and eating sweets.

26 Oct 11:24

26 Oct 11:24

According to Claudio Bertolani a certain Dimitri phoned accused 1 on 21 April 2015 at about 22:30 PM – 22:45 PM and during that call accused 1 indicated he was on his way to Njoli Square. Bertlani later met up with accused 1 and Siyoni, at a point when Siyoni had already been collected by accused 1. If one were to examine the celluar phone billing of accused 1 it will be noted that those calls made by Dimitri to the phone of accused 1 was at 23:09 PM.

Accused 1 then went to the OK Grocer and Infinity, locked up and reset the alarm at 23:36 PM, travelled to the township, and only at 23:50 PM does he phone Siyoni, at a stage when the cellular phone of accused 1 is already receiving reception from the Daku Tower. See exhibit G1 page 514 and 515. Accused 1 and Siyoni then travel to Njoli Square, where they wait for Bertolani and Dimitri to join. They drink cooldrink, eat chips and then accused 1 and Bertolani drive off to go and fetch Derrick Inggs at Kenako Mall. They then return to Njoli Square where Siyoni was waiting outside the car of accused 1, and then Bertolani leaves, accused 1 drops Siyoni off before he travels to Uitenhage. At 00:56 AM Siyoni is already dropped off. Record page 3058 – 3060. What all of this means is Siyoni did nothing, except that after that meeting with accused 1 Siyoni was in a position to phone Vumazonke to come and collect his money, and the badgering for payment stopped.

26 Oct 11:22
If one looks at the objective facts, and I deal with it here, this was a smokescreen

26 Oct 11:22
163.    It is my submission that accused 1's version of events that Siyoni was fetched to point out ATM machines in Kwazakhele was merely a smokescreen for him making a payment to Siyoni.

26 Oct 11:21
162.    It is my submission that the evidence as set out in the above paragraph clearly indicates that Siyoni needed to obtain money in order to pay Vumazonke. It has already been established that Vumazonke was instrumental in the killing of the deceased. My submission is supported by the evidence of Noxolo Sokuta. Sokuta testified that on 21 April 2015 at about 11:00 AM in the morning Siyoni arrived at Infinity Cocktail Lounge. Sokuta found this strange because Siyoni does not work on a Tuesday, he only works on Fridays and Saturdays, and secondly, in the normal course of business, Siyoni would only arrive around 8:00 PM in the evening. It is her further evidence that Siyoni indicated he was waiting for accused 1, but he did not want Sokuta to phone accused 1. Even when Sokuta was speaking to Malusi, who was in the company of accused 1, Siyoni did not want to convey to Sokuta why he was waiting for accused 1. It is my submission that if he was there to collect money legitimately kept by accused 1, he would have asked. The conduct of Siyoni of course makes perfect sense as he can hardly tell that he wants the money as payment for the killing of the deceased. As per the later meeting, on 29 April 2015, between Siyoni and accused 1, it is stated that Siyoni knew that he was not allowed to contact accused 1. Sokuta testified further that at some stage Siyoni wanted to know whether accused 1 had left any money for him as accused 1 was keeping money for him, and that the business partners of Siyoni were now looking for that money. It is abundantly clear that the business partner was Vumazonke and the other killers. Siyoni had indicated to Sokuta that it was about R30,000, but Siyoni  indicated if she could assist him with R10,000 he could at least show his business partners there is money. It is my submission that this is a clear reference to Vumazonke and the SMS messages sent to Vumazonke, but it also reflects the urgency of Siyoni. Sokuta testified that her and Siyoni in fact went to look in the cupboard for the money, as accused 1 had previously shown her a bag of money in this cupboard and indicated that it was money kept for Siyoni. This aspect of her evidence was never disputed. All that was put to Sokuta was whether she knew accused 1 were keeping money for Siyoni for the gym. This evidencemakes the later evidence of Anthony Emmet and Chanelle Coutts regarding monies lying around rather obsolete. She testified further that LS remained at infinity up until closing time. At no stage did accused 1 arrive. See Record page 728 – 731. The evidence that accused 1 kept a bag of money for Siyoni is supported by the evidence of Mawonga. There is further the evidence of Babalwa Konzani who testified and confirmed the fact that Sokuta even contacted her and enquired about the money. This would mean that in order for accused 1 to pay the money over to Siyoni he would at some later stage had to access Infinity and or the OK Grocer. This submission goes further, because even on the version of accused 1, had he needed to pay money over to Siyoni he would have needed to access the safe at OK Grocer or Infinity. At this stage in proceedings we know that money was paid over to Siyoni, that he in turn paid over to Vumazonke at about 2:00 AM in the morning, and subsequent to that payment Siyoni had a further R31,300-00 in his possession. Exhibit R-1 indicates that on 21 April 2015 at 11:35 PM the alarm was switched off at Infinity, and was turned back on at 11:36 PM. See exhibit R-1 on page 11. The alarm system at the OK Grocer was, on 21 April 2015, turned off at 11:30 PM, and was turned back on at 11:45 PM. See exhibit R-2 page 11. In the plea explanation by accused 1, at paragraph 11.5, he states he has no knowledge where or how accused 1 came into possession of the R31,300-00. If Siyoni had R31,300-00 he would not have needed to run around frantically looking for money to pay Vumazonke. It is my respectful submission that prior to 12:00 PM on 21 April 2015 Siyoni had no money in his possession, and the R31,300-00 was part of the money Siyoni received from accused 1 shortly after midnight. Accused’s 1 visit to the OK Grocer and Infinity after 11:30 PM was when accused 1 collected the money he had to pay over to Siyoni. The evidence of Noxolo Sokuta and Babalwa Konzani further supports my submission that Siyoni was urgently looking for money. In the words of Sokuta: “Siyoni informed me he needed R30,000-00 to pay his business partners.” The question arises why would Siyoni involve accused 1 in the payment arrangements of Vumazonke? Again the answer to the question is simple. It is because Siyoni recruited Vumazonke on the request of accused 1.

26 Oct 11:19
157.    It is by now clear that Vumazonke had to obtain a vehicle to put the plan in place to kidnap and kill the deceased. The Etios was collected by Vumazonke at 1:38 PM on 9 April 2015. Vumazonke contacted ZEMS on 9 April 2015 at 12:48 PM and 1:09 PM. See exhibit X1 lines 28303 and 28304. Siyoni had contacted Ntando Tours on 8 April 2015 at 3:18 PM. See exhibit BD1 line 20715. It is my submission that the money for the rental of the Etios was paid over by accused 1 to Siyoni on 7 April 2015 at about 3:18 PM.  At 3:05 PM there was a communication between Siyoni and accused 1. Subsequent to this conversation accused 1 travelled to the township. At 3:18 PM the cellular phone of Siyoni was receiving reception from the Daku Tower. At 15:18 PM the cellular phone of accused 1 was receiving reception from the Daku Tower. See exhibit BD1 line 20259 and exhibit  G1 page 1199. Accused 1 immediately left the township whilst Siyoni remained in the township. Shortly after 3:18 PM there were 2 instances of communication between Siyoni and Vumazonke. See exhibit BD1 lines 20262 and 20264. It is the State’s case that during this meeting accused 1 paid the money over for the rental of the Etios.

26 Oct 11:19
Stander deals with the rental of the vehicle for Vumazonke and Panayiotou's involvement

26 Oct 11:17
Court back in session

26 Oct 11:01
Court is adjourned for the morning break

26 Oct 11:01

Read with this the SMS messages.  

The man is busy  

We will get the money  

He has put it in the safe  

26 Oct 11:00
On the morning of 21 April 2015 at about 11:00 AM Siyoni arrived at Infinity Cocktail Lounge looking for accused 1 in an attempt to secure R30 000, at a time when Vumazonke was looking for payment for the shooters of the deceased. The question arises why would Siyoni go to accused 1 for payment? Again the answer to the question is simple. It is because Siyoni recruited Vumazonke on the request of accused 1.

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