Middleman in Jayde Panayiotou murder asks prosecutor to recuse himself

2018-05-22 15:04
Luthando Siyoni, the self-confessed middleman who helped to plan the murder of Jayde Panayiotou. (Netwerk24)

Luthando Siyoni, the self-confessed middleman who helped to plan the murder of Jayde Panayiotou. (Netwerk24)

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Luthando Siyoni, the self-confessed middleman who helped to plan the murder of Jayde on behalf of her husband Christopher, has asked that the prosecutor in his case to recuse himself.

Siyoni's request to have State advocate Marius Stander recused, was raised before Magistrate Thandeka Mashiyi in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate's Court on Tuesday.

Siyoni's attorney, Zolile Ngeza, was addressing Mashiyi following the postponement of Siyoni's bail application to Wednesday morning.

Ngeza asked Mashiyi if she would be free to hear an application in the afternoon to have Stander removed as the prosecutor, as it could influence whether they could proceed with the bail application.

READ: Jayde Panayiotou murder: Middleman applies for his release on bail

Mashiyi immediately pointed out that she did not think she had the authority to say who the State could assign to deal with cases before court.

Ngeza countered by saying he knew he was catching Mashiyi by surprise, but that he was acting on the instructions of his client.

"Your client is a lay person, you are there to lead, to advise. You cannot hide behind that," the magistrate responded.

Stander also countered, saying he was mandated by the national director of public prosecutions, in terms of which cases were assigned to him, and could not remove himself.

Stander pointed out that the magistrate's court could only deal with matters that fell within the ambit of the Criminal Procedures Act, and that a request to remove him would not form part of the act.

He said the defence would have to file an application with National Prosecuting Authority boss Shaun Abrahams. 

Hostile witness

Siyoni and Stander have a history, as it was Stander who asked that Siyoni be declared a hostile witness during Panayiotou's trial. Siyoni also refused to answer any of Stander's questions for two days straight during the trial, despite being a Section 204 witness.

His conduct during the trial contributed to Judge Dayalin Chetty revoking his immunity as a Section 204 witness, which then led to him being arrested.

He is facing a charge of murder for his role in the abduction and murder of the school teacher on April 21, 2015.

Mashiyi said Ngeza would have to consult with Siyoni to determine if he wished to proceed with the bail application, or have the application stand down while addressing the issue relating to Stander.

She said she would be ready to proceed with the bail application on Wednesday at 09:00. 

Panayiotou and Sinethemba Nenembe were found guilty of Jayde's murder, while Zolani Sibeko was found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder.

A fourth accused, Sizwezakhe Vumazonke, died in a Port Elizabeth hospital in September 2016, before the trial began.

Panayiotou, Nenembe and Sibeko recently lost their applications for leave to appeal their convictions. Panayiotou's defence team has indicated that it would petition the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein.

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Read more on:    jayde panayiotou  |  luthando siyoni  |  port elizabeth  |  crime

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