AS IT HAPPENED: Panayiotou defence tries poking holes in cops' testimony

2016-11-23 15:00

Terry Price, for the Panayiotou defence, continued to cross-examine officers involved in alleged middleman Luthando Siyoni's arrest in an attempt to cast doubt on their testimony and question their methods and procedures.

The accused in the Panayiotou case

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Last Updated at 17:51
23 Nov 15:08

23 Nov 15:07


MS: I would like to ask for us to stand down 

MS: The witness that I was going to call, is most likely to run over to tomorrow 

MS: The witness I have lined up for tomorrow is coming in from out of town and is a lengthy witness 

MS: I would rather deal with that testimony first and then we can recall Reynolds at a later stage, as there is no logistical issue 

Chetty: Any objections? 

TP: No 

PD: No 

Chetty: Court is adjourned until tomorrow 9:30am 

23 Nov 15:04

TP: That's crazy, Captain. Are you saying that nowhere in that document did you indicate in writing that he didn't want one? 

NN: No I didn't, but I did read his rights and when we got to legal representation, I would have stopped, had he requested one. 

TP: So what you are saying is, that despite him telling you he did not want an attorney, you decided not to enter it onto this document? 

NN: I didn't see the need for that, and don't see the need now. If he had indicated he needed a legal practitioner, we would have stopped at that point. 

NN: And the reason I emphasised to him do you want an attorney, NOW, was because I wanted to make it clear. 

TP: Let me make it simple for you; nowhere did you write that Mr Siyoni refused and waived his right to an attorney, do you agree to that? 

NN: As I have said, I agree with that 

TP: I want to end with this, you have been in the police [for] 29 years, and I imagine you have taken down numerous statements 

NN: That is correct 

TP: I am going to place a rhetorical question to you. If you take a statement from a person, let us call it statement A, and five days later you take a statement, statement B, and there are material differences, that would be a concern 

NN: Yes 

TP: And that would be an indication that the person is telling a lie 

NN: Yes 

TP: No further questions 

PD: No questions 

MS: I just want to clarify one thing: Did you say Mr Siyoni did not understand English? 

[Interpreter clarifies that he had made a mistake initially and that the witness had said Siyoni did not understand English and he had continued to speak in Xhosa] 

MS: Then I have no further questions

MS: May I ask that we have a short adjournment? I do have another witness here. 

Chetty: Court is adjourned 


23 Nov 14:55

TP: Did you make any notes in Xhosa? 

NN: No 

TP: Did you establish if Mr Siyoni spoke or read English? 

NN: Yes 

TP: How? 

NN: I asked him if he speaks English 

TP: That is the first time the court is hearing about this 

NN: I am telling the truth. He told me he doesn't understand English. 

TP: Did you read it back to him in English? 

NN: In English and then I translated it back to Xhosa 

TP: So you never gave it to him as it stands there? 

NN: No, cause he can't read English 

TP: When you told him he has the right to an attorney, what did he say? 

NN: He said he doesn't want a legal representative

TP: Did you write it down? 

NN: No 

23 Nov 14:51

TP: But Mayi said he was not questioned 

NN: I don't know 

TP: Your comments that Siyoni appeared relaxed, those are your interpretations 

NN: Yes 

TP: What colour was his jeans? 

NN: Black, if my memory serves me 

TP: Let me help you, you did not mention the colour 

NN: I did not mention it, but I remember it was black 

TP: Did he have a belt? 

NN: I don't remember 

TP: You did not have a close look at his pants? 

NN: He was sitting down 

TP: The statement, you conversed in Xhosa 

NN: Yes  

TP: Now do you mean that while you were putting this to paper, you were talking Xhosa? 

NN: Yes 

TP: Were you translating to English as you went along, or did you do it after? 

NN: He would say something in Xhosa, then I would write it down in English, he would say something more, and I would write it down in English 

NN: When I was finished, I read through the whole statement 

23 Nov 14:45

TP: And in fact, Warrant Officer Greeff told the court that his eye was swollen 

NN: That would surprise me, I never saw it 

TP: And in fact, there are a number of entries in the occurrence book at Kabega Park by people not involved in this case that noted the swollen eye 

NN: It would not surprise me, maybe his eye was swollen after he saw me 

TP: That is not possible, Greeff has testified it was swollen before he handed him over to you 

NN: I did not see a swollen eye 

TP: And what would have happened if he had told you he had been assaulted by Mayi and company and had been assaulted? 

NN: I would not have taken the confession down 

TP: Did he tell you he was taken by Mayi and company to Kwanobuhle? 

NN: No 

TP: But here it says he gave oral testimony when he was questioned by detectives 

NN: That is what he said 

23 Nov 14:39

TP: But it is common cause that he was not arrested at 9pm, it is around 11:45 

NN: I don't know when he was arrested, that is what he told me 

TP: Warrant Officer Greeff has already testified and he handed Siyoni to you. He says it is absolutely impossible that you could have missed the injury to Mr Siyoni. 

NN: I never saw it 

TP: Do you have a problem with your eyesight? 

NN: I don't have problems 

TP: How far were you sitting from him? 

NN: About arm's length 

TP: And were the lights on? 

NN: Yes 

TP: Now according to this document, he denied being assaulted 

NN: That is correct 

TP: Would it surprise you that, approximately 7 hours before this, he had told Greeff that he had been assaulted by police? 

NN: No it would not surprise me, but he did not tell me 

23 Nov 14:34

TP: I want to take you to the part [where] you asked him if he had been assaulted, and the answer is no 

NN: That is correct 

TP: I am going to go to section 7.1, you asked him if he had made a statement, whether orally or in writing, and he said orally 

NN: That is correct 

TP: And he told you he made it to detectives when he was questioned? 

NN: That is correct 

TP: Did you establish what he told the detectives? 

NN: No 

TP: Did you find out from him [under] what circumstances he had made the statement? 

NN: Yes 

TP: And in that his answer? 

NN: Yes 

23 Nov 14:30

TP: Did you know what time you were to take the statement? 

NN: In the morning 

TP: You had to drive all the way from Queenstown, do you know why Brigadier McLaren picked you? 

NN: I don't know why I was chosen, but he is my commanding officer and he gave me instructions 

TP: Did you offer him an interpreter? 

NN: No I didn't offer him, because I saw he can speak Xhosa 

TP: You never offered him the option? 

NN: No, we both speak Xhosa, so it was not necessary 

TP: You testified in chief, and you read through the warnings you gave him? 

NN: Yes 

23 Nov 14:26

TP: And what time did Brigadier McLaren call you the night before? 

NN: Around 10pm 

TP: Not closer to 11:45pm? 

NN: I'm not sure, it was around the time I went to bed 

TP: What did he tell you exactly? 

NN: Captain, I am asking you to go and take a statement from a person you are going to meet at Fort Beaufort tomorrow 

TP: Did he tell you the name? 

NN: No 

TP: Did he tell you the offence? 

NN: He never told me 

TP: Did you find out how he had arrived at Fort Beaufort? 

NN: No one told me 

TP: So you didn't know that Greeff had brought him from PE? 

NN: I know Greeff brought him to me, but I don't know from where 

23 Nov 14:22

[NN is reminded he is under oath] 

TP: I want to show you a photo 

TP: Can you see the injury there? 

NN: Yes 

TP: That is Mr Siyoni 

NN: Yes 

TP: That photo was taken the day after he spoke to you 

TP: What you are saying is that Mr Siyoni freely and voluntarily gave his statement to you 

NN: Yes 

TP: And he freely and voluntarily implicated himself in a very serious offence 

NN: Yes 

TP: And he waived his rights to legal representation 

NN: Yes 

23 Nov 14:18

23 Nov 13:44

23 Nov 13:43

23 Nov 13:42

23 Nov 13:42

23 Nov 13:42

23 Nov 13:41

23 Nov 12:50

23 Nov 12:49

MS: He also indicates that, while you were interviewing him, a Captain Mayi arrived there, and you wanted to know if you wanted him to hand him back to Captain Mayi 

NN: He is not telling the truth, I never saw Captain Mayi that day 

MS: I have no further questions 

TP: I am ready to proceed, but perhaps after lunch? 

Chetty: Court is adjourned until 2:15 

23 Nov 12:46

MS: Then both you and Mr Siyoni signed this statement? 

NN: Yes 

NN: After I finished taking the statement, I read it back to him. I read it in English but then translated it back to Xhosa for him. 

NN: After that I asked him some questions

MS: Yes 

NN: I asked if he was satisfied that the statement had been taken down correctly, he said yes 

NN: I asked if he had any complaints in the manner in which this statement was taken down and he said no 

NN: Then I asked if he was satisfied with the interpreter, he said no, because there was no interpreter, because it was just me and him 

NN: This was taken at Fort Beaufort and we ended the interview at 10:35am. I then signed the certificate that I had interpreted for him, I then made the observations about him. 

NN: His attitude was at ease with no signs of fear 

MS: What I want to know from you, Mr Siyoni said when he met you he said he asked you where his lawyer was 

NN: He is telling a lie 

MS: He also said you said he must not make a fool out of you, or you would send him back to the people in Uitenhage 

NN: He is not telling the truth, I never said that 

MS: He also says you questioned him about the murder weapon, where the murder weapon was 

NN: That is not the truth, I never asked him that 

MS: He also indicated that, aside for one or two things, he never said this to you 

NN: Everything I wrote down in this statement is what I got from him, and he is the one who conveyed it to me 

23 Nov 12:40

NN: I asked if he had at any time made a verbal or written statement in connection with this matter, and he said he had made a verbal statement, but it had not been reduced to writing 

NN: I asked him to whom, and he said it was to the police who called themselves detectives, and it was in connection to this case 

NN: So I asked him why he wanted to repeat the statement 

NN: He said he wanted to tell the truth 

NN: I asked him if he was arrested 

NN: He said yes 

NN: I asked him when was he arrested, and he said it was Monday the 27th of April, 2015, at around 9pm 

NN: I asked him if he had any injuries and he said no. I then made a visible inspection and didn't see any injuries 

NN: I then asked if he was under the influence of liquor, and he said no 

NN: Now since the deponent appeared to be sober and had said he was not threatened and that he was willing to make the statement, I proceeded to take down his statement 

NN: Do you want me to read the statement? 

MS: You can proceed 

[NN reads the statement] 

23 Nov 12:35

NN: I informed him he has the right to remain silent and that anything he said can be used against him in a court of law 

NN: I also informed him of his right to have a legal practitioner present at that point in time that a statement was taken down 

NN: I also informed him that if he did not have the financial means to afford a legal practitioner of his own, we could provide a legal practitioner from the state to assist him against any injustice against him 

NN: I also appraised him of his right not to make a confession or admission 

MS: I want to check with you, on the second right, his right to legal representation, where you say he has the right to legal representation now, that is in your own handwriting? 

NN: Yes, it is in my own handwriting 

MS: And then? 

NN: After I had informed him of his rights, I asked him the following: I asked if he understood the warnings, and he said yes. 

NN: I asked if he still wanted to make a statement, and he said yes 

NN: Thirdly, have you been assaulted by anyone to come and make this statement, and he said no 

NN: Were you in any way influenced or encouraged to make a statement, and he said no 

NN: I asked if there were any promises made to him by any person, if he made a statement, and he said no 

NN: I asked him if he was led by promises to make a statement, and he said he was not led by promises 

NN: I asked if he expected any benefits, should he make a statement, and he said no 

NN: He said he was not expecting any benefits 

23 Nov 12:29

MS: I want you to take me through the interview 

NN: I interpreted the interview myself 

NN: I was interpreting from English to Xhosa 

NN: Both myself and Mr Siyoni were talking in Xhosa 

NN: I informed Mr Siyoni he was in the presence of a police officer 

NN: I told him that he could speak freely and if necessary, I would provide protection against any irregularity, should that happen 

NN: I also told him he was not compelled to make a statement whatsoever, and if he made a statement, it would be written down and could be used against him 

NN: I also appraised him of his rights, in terms of the constitution 

MS: That against him, that is something you wrote down in your own handwriting? 

NN: Yes 

23 Nov 12:24

MS: I want to ask you, do you recall who brought this suspect to you? 

NN: Warrant Officer Greeff 

MS: And is it correct that the interview started at 9:05? 

NN: Yes 

MS: And while the interview was conducted, was it yourself and Mr Siyoni, no one else? 

NN: There was no one else, it was only the two of us 

MS: We have heard evidence that Mr Siyoni was handcuffed, his hands and feet, what was the situation with you? 

NN: The time he was brought to me, he was handcuffed both his hands and feet, and I gave instructions to Greeff that he must remove the cuffs. The time he was with me, he had no cuffs on. 

23 Nov 12:21

MS: At that stage, did you have any prior knowledge relating to this case? 

NN: I did not have the slightest knowledge 

MS: Did anyone prior to your meeting with Siyoni, [tell] you about the case? 

NN: There was no one who told me anything about this case 

MS: I want to take you to the handwritten document. Do you recognise the handwriting? 

NN: Yes, it is mine 

MS: At the bottom right, you see the signature? 

NN: Yes, it is mine 

MS: And the one on the left 

NN: That signature belongs to Siyoni from whom I took the signature 

[MS goes through the document, confirms signatures] 

MS: Last page, the thumb print, is that Mr Siyoni? 

NN: Yes 

MS: And the time 10:35, is that the time you finished the interview?

NN: Yes 

23 Nov 12:15

MS: How many years of service do you have? 

NN: I have been a police officer for 29 years 

MS: I am going to show you a document, and I will scroll down to the handwritten version 

MS: It is common cause that you took down a confession from one Luthando Siyoni on the 28th of April 2015 

NN: That is so 

MS: And that this confession was taken down in Fort Beaufort 

NN: Yes, that is correct 

MS: How is it that you got involved in taking down the confession? 

NN: I received a phone call from Brigadier McLaren, that was the night just prior to the day that I had to take down the statement 

MS: Where were you at that time? 

NN: I was in Queenstown 

MS: And why then were arrangements made to meet in Fort Beaufort? 

NN: I was told by Brigadier McLaren that I was going to meet up with the said person in Fort Beaufort 

23 Nov 12:10

(Derrick Spies/News24) 

23 Nov 12:09

MS: I now call 16. Captain Ntembiso Stanley Ndzendeni (NN) 

[Ndzendeni is sworn in] 

MS: Mr Ndzendeni, is it correct you are a captain in the police service? 

NN: That is correct 

MS: Can you tell the court where you are based, and with what unit? 

NN: Queenstown Detective branch 

23 Nov 12:07

MS: I want to refer the court to the confession made to Ndzendeni 

MS: I referred to this document when I discredited Siyoni 

MS: It is not my purpose to ask the court to make a ruling on the truthfulness 

23 Nov 12:04

23 Nov 11:44

The image of Luthando Siyoni that was called up in court to show how he was allegedly beaten on the night of his arrest. 


23 Nov 11:27

23 Nov 11:26

TP: No further questions 

PD: No questions 

MS: No questions 

Chetty: You are excused 

MS: May I ask [for] an adjournment? 

MS: We are now on Wednesday and our time is running short. I want to look at how the case is unfolding. 

MS: I have witnesses available, but I want to consider changing the way I present this case and need some time to consider my decision. 

TP: We have no objection 

MS: I will be able to continue by 12 noon 

Chetty: Court is adjourned to 12 

23 Nov 11:23

TP: Mr Panayiotou has indicated it is not necessary for the interpreter to interpret the Afrikaans 

TP: This is the entry in the charge office occurrence book in Fort Beaufort 

TP: [reads] "Locked in cells with left swollen eye before arrest" 

TP: Before arrest 

TP: Are you saying you never used the word "before" arrest? 

DG: I can't remember that word 

TP: Are you saying you never said "before"? 

DG: I can't recall using that word 

TP: You indicated that Mr Stander asked you if Siyoni slept and you mentioned that he had because you couldn't sleep 

DG: That is correct 

TP: And did you mention the lawyer with him, did that come up? 

DG: That is correct, he asked me if he had been warned, I can't remember the exact words 

23 Nov 11:17

23 Nov 11:16

23 Nov 10:51

23 Nov 10:51

TP: But Reynolds' statement says that after you got into the vehicle, you asked him about the confession 

DG: That would be incorrect 

TP: And in her statement, she says you spoke about the lawyer first 

DG: That is incorrect 

TP: Siyoni says he has no idea about what you said happened in Grahamstown. He said he never worked at the festival or that you chatted. 

DG: That is untrue. He spoke to me, and greeted about three or four people. 

[TP asks for the morning adjournment] 

Chetty: Court is adjourned 

23 Nov 10:48

TP: Did you look for it? 

DG: No, but I would have seen it 

TP: Did you look for it? 

DG: No, but like I said, I would have seen it 

TP: Did you ask him about any injuries? 

DG: No, but I did ask him about the eye 

TP: Who was the first to speak about a confession, you or Siyoni? 

DG: He knew before we left 

DG: Koen said he wants to make a confession willingly and freely 

TP: So there was no talk about a confession between you and him? 

DG: No, we were talking about where we were going and who we were going to see

23 Nov 10:45

TP: After your version, I have spoken to his attorney and would like to put it to you 

MS: Is he going to be testifying? 

TP: What must I do, if this witness had just stuck to his statement I would have had no questions 

Chetty: He will put the version to you and you can respond 


TP: Mr Siyoni says the conversation between you and Koen never took place 

DG: That is not true 

TP: He says you never offered him an attorney 

DG: I did 

TP: His attorney says that that conversation never took place 

DG: It did 

TP: I say it didn't and it is not in your statement or pocket book 

DG: It is not, but it did take place 

TP: And he raised the issue of an attorney with you? 

DG: That is correct 

[TP calls up photo of Siyoni] 

TP: Can you see his eye is swollen? 

DG: Yes 

TP: And that his cheek is swollen 

DG: Yes 

TP: And he has a split lip? 

DG: I see a mark 

TP: It is a split lip 

DG: No 

23 Nov 10:40

TP: And when he was in the car? 

DG: It can still be used as a weapon 

TP: Please... while handcuffed and footcuffed? 

DG: Absolutely 

23 Nov 10:39

TP: He had just been beaten up by a police officer, you are a police officer, you can't expect him to tell you that. 

DG: If he didn't tell me his head's sore, his stomach is sore or his eyes [are] sore, I wouldn't know. 

TP: Did you ask him if he wanted to see a doctor? 

DG: No 

TP: Because you didn't care 

DG: I did care, that is why I asked him if he had any complaints 

TP: And the first time you mentioned the fact that he had been sleeping, you told Mr Stander 

DG: That is correct 

TP: And that was your only consult with him? 

DG: Yes 

TP: And how did this come up? 

DG: He wanted to know about the trip, and what mood Siyoni was in 

TP: Did he ask you if he slept? 

DG: Yes 

TP: Did he have a belt on? 

DG: I can't recall 

TP: The belt was taken off 

DG: Normally if they are detained, it is removed 

TP: So that they can't harm themselves 

DG: Themselves, or others 

23 Nov 10:33

TP: When you handed him over to Captain Ndzendeni, was his eye still swollen? 

DG: That is correct 

TP: So there is no way that Captain Ndzendeni could say that there were no visible injuries? 

DG: He must have been able to see it 

TP: Siyoni told you he had been assaulted by the police, surely he would have told Ndzendeni the same 

DG: Yes 

TP: But he makes no mention of it 

TP: When you asked Koen, he told you Siyoni had been warned of his rights 

DG: Yes 

TP: And who did you think was it that warned him? 

DG: It was my understanding that it was Koen 

TP: Mr Siyoni told this court that he was scared as he did not know where he was going, he was in pain from being assaulted, and he had not been able to sleep. 

DG: I explained to the court that there is a chain [on the cuffs] that allows movement, so he was, in my opinion, comfortable. And I told the court how he had been snoring lightly and how I joked about it with my partner. 

DG: He also didn't tell me he was in pain 

23 Nov 10:28

TP: Did you tell him who he was going to see? 

DG: I battled to pronounce the name 

TP: Mr Siyoni said he was under the impression he was going to see a magistrate 

DG: That was also my impression at the beginning 

TP: That's not what I am asking. Did he believe he was going to see a magistrate? 

DG: I don't think so, I told him we were going to see a captain, I just battled with pronouncing his name 

TP: Show us in paragraph 3, where you make mention that you told Siyoni that you were going to take him to see a captain 

DG: I didn't mention it 

TP: Tell us why you leave out critical things and remember trivial things like teasing your partner Reynolds, why is that? 

DG: It is what I remember 

TP: You have a very selective memory 

DG: Thank you 

TP: It was not a compliment 

23 Nov 10:23

TP: In fact, if you look at your statement, you say that you wrote down your kilometres, and said heading to Fort Beaufort 

DG: That is correct 

TP: So there is nothing to support your claim you didn't know where you were going? 

DG: Not in my statement 

TP: In your pocket book? 

DG: It is the same as my statement 

TP: So nothing to support your claim? 

DG: Only my partner 

TP: She doesn't say that 

DG: I don't know what she says 

TP: In fact, your statement says you didn't know who you were taking him to until after 8am the following day 

TP: Once Koen told you where you were going and who you were going to see, what happened? Did you tell Mr Siyoni? 

DG: Yes 

TP: And that was the first time he heard he was going to Fort Beaufort? 

DG: Yes 

TP: And what was his response? 

DG: He didn't respond 

23 Nov 10:18

TP: Mr Siyoni says you arrived, it was locked, and you had to knock to get in 

DG: I can't recall that 

TP: And he says that he heard two female officers speaking about his injury and asked you about it 

DG: I don't recall it that way, I told them to write it down 

TP: How far were you from the charge office and what were you told? 

DG: It was shortly after I left, it was Koen who called 

TP: And what did he tell you? 

DG: That I must go to Fort Beaufort and speak to a captain Ndzendeni 

TP: Did he call you or contact you on the radio? 

DG: He called me 

TP: And then you turned the car and headed to Fort Beaufort? 

DG: Dianne was driving, we continued straight 

23 Nov 10:14

TP: But surely, if this man is being taken to make a confession, then being assaulted is important and needs to be clarified. 

DG: It was. He was assaulted, he had a swollen eye, but it was not Koen. 

TP: And that was good enough for you? 

DG: That is correct, that couldn't change anything 

TP: What if you had asked him and he had said Colonel Mayi and his team had been [behind the assault], and forced him to confess, what would you have done then? 

DG: I would have asked him if he still willingly wanted to make a confession and I would have asked Koen to warn him again 

TP: In your statement, you booked him back with no injuries. He had been assaulted, he had a swollen eye, how is that no injuries? 

DG: It means he had not sustained any injuries while in my care 

TP: This is the entry made in the occurrence book in Fort Beaufort 

DG: Yes 

TP: And it is you that wrote "locked in cells with a left swollen eye before arrest" 

TP: You wrote this 

DG: Yes 

23 Nov 10:08

TP: Why didn't you wait at the station until you knew? 

DG: I was told I must drive and they would tell me where I was going shortly. I still thought I was going to get the address of a magistrate. 

TP: Did you still think he was being taken to a magistrate in PE? 

DG: That is what I thought, my personal thought 

TP: When you saw him, he said he was assaulted 

DG: That is correct 

TP: He said he was "moered" 

DG: Yes 

TP: What is your understanding of the word "moered"? 

DG: Slapped or hit 

TP: He told you it was the detectives? 

DG: He did not say detectives, he said other police 

TP: Did you make any attempt to find out who the police officers were? 

DG: Yes. I asked him if it was Koen who assaulted him. 

TP: And he said no. Did you take any further steps, like the simple step of asking, who assaulted you, can you give me a name? 

DG: No 

TP: But why not? 

DG: I have nothing to do with the case and I knew Koen was investigating the case. 

23 Nov 10:02

TP: Where do you say that in your statement, that you told Siyoni this? 

DG: [reads his statement] I did not mention it. 

TP: Something so important, you leave out 

DG: I did not mention it 

TP: When you left Kabega Park police station, you told this court you were of the opinion you were taking him to see a magistrate. 

DG: That is what I thought. And I did testify to that effect. 

TP: I know you testified, I'm going further. 

TP: Had no one told you at the time you left Kabega Park where you were going, and why you were going? 

DG: That is correct 

TP: This has to be the most bizarre comment I have heard in a court of law. You're saying you got into a car not knowing where you were taking him, or what for. Is that what you are saying? 

DG: That is what I testified to, but he did know we were going for a confession. 

DG: But I would have known in a short time after pulling away where we were going to. 

TP: So until you heard where you were going, where did you intend driving to? 

DG: We drove down Cape Road 

TP: Were you on a joy ride until you heard? 

DG: There was no joy ride 

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