Middleman in Panayiotou murder 'a liar and a flight risk', court hears

2018-06-08 20:12
Luthando Siyoni.  (Image via Facebook)

Luthando Siyoni. (Image via Facebook)

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Luthando Siyoni, the self-confessed middleman in the murder of Jayde Panayiotou, had "thrown mud in court", but was not prepared to "place his own cards on the table".

This was the closing argument of State advocate Marius Stander, who pointed out that Siyoni had attacked the State's case, without putting forward any defence of his own.

"He is attacking the strength of the State's case, but where is his defence? He doesn't have one!"

READ: Self-confessed middle man in Panayiotou murder back in court for bail

"He has thrown mud in this court, but he hasn't placed his cards on the table. He does not have the guts to say his confession is false. He doesn't have the guts to say the money is his," he told the Port Elizabeth Magistrate's Court.

Earlier Siyoni's attorney, Zolile Ngqeza, had appealed to Magistrate Thandeka Mashiyi not to be swayed by the horrific nature of the crime that Siyoni was being accused of, and that his client was innocent until proven guilty.

Mother withheld information

Ngqeza said Siyoni was not a flight risk, that he had not been aware that the police were looking for him, and that he had come back on his own volition after attending a cleansing ceremony.

He said Siyoni had been found at the same address, that of his mother's home, that he had given the police during the first trial.

Mashiyi then asked why the mother, who would have known he was taking part in a cleansing ritual, had not told the police where he was.

Ngqeza said two white men had arrived at the house in plain clothes, in unmarked vehicles, and had not identified themselves.

"But on the day of his arrest, his mother claimed to have no knowledge of his whereabouts, yet he was found at the home," said Mashiyi.

Mashiyi then asked if the mother had not deliberately withheld information from the police, to which Ngqeza said there was nothing in the responding affidavit that addressed this, and he did not have instructions on the matter.

Mother would have known police

Stander later addressed this issue by pointing out that the mother would have known who the men were.

He said police had not gone to the house once, but had visited on a regular basis. They had also visited a gym where Siyoni was said to help out and even placed an undercover police officer in the gym to try and find him.

He said the mother would have known the police officers who had gone looking for Siyoni, as they had given her a lift on a weekly basis to visit her son at the holding cells in Humewood, where he was being kept in protective custody ahead of the trial.

"It was not some unknown white man at the door," he said.

Language barrier

Stander said, in his responding affidavit, that Siyoni had referred to the issue of language. Earlier, the bail application had been delayed as the investigating officer's 36-page affidavit had to be translated into Xhosa.

Siyoni had also raised the issue of language in his affidavit earlier in the day, when discussing the original attorney afforded to him through legal aid.

"But all his SMSes are in English," said Stander.

Ace up prosecution's sleeve

In a surprise move at the end of his argument, Stander handed up the judgment of Judge Dayalin Chetty on the Panayiotou trial. He said, while he had referred to it earlier, he had not attached it to the investigating officer's affidavit.

"But this is a reported judgment, your worship, so I can submit it," he said.

Stander said they were dealing with a man who had deliberately misled the State and the prosecution.

"You cannot believe anything that this man says. He has been found wanting and found to be a liar.

"It is not me or the investigating officer who is saying the accused is a liar, it is a trained presiding officer," he said.

In his judgment in the Panayiotou trial, Chetty found Siyoni's testimony to be "a cocktail of lies, perjury and contrivances" designed to advance Panayiotou's defence.

A flight risk

Stander said Siyoni had not provided any substantial or compelling evidence that there were exceptional circumstances that warranted him being released on bail.

He said it was also not in the interests of justice, as Siyoni was a flight risk

"Just now an attorney, or a mom, does not know where he is when the trial starts, given that this has happened before," he said.

Following the closing arguments, Mashiyi postponed the matter to June 22 for judgment.

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

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