Officer's evidence contradicts Panayiotou bouncer's claim of no sleep before confession

2016-11-22 20:06
Luthando Siyoni (Netwerk24)

Luthando Siyoni (Netwerk24)

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Port Elizabeth - The Eastern Cape High Court in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday heard how alleged middleman Luthando Siyoni's snoring kept one of the officers transporting him to Fort Beaufort awake.

This emerged during testimony from Warrant Officer Dirk Ignatius Greeff, who had been responsible for transporting Siyoni to Fort Beaufort police station so that he could make his confession during the early hours of April 28 2015.

The testimony contradicted Siyoni who alleged under cross-examination by Christopher Panayiotou's defence that he had not been able to get any sleep at all during his trip.

Greeff told the court that he noticed Siyoni's eye was swollen when he had gone to collect him and had immediately asked him about it.

He said Siyoni had told him, in the presence of the investigating officer at the time, detective Constable Aldre Koen, that he had been "moered" by the other police officers.

Greeff said he had immediately noted it in his pocket book, so that there would be no allegations at a later stage that he had assaulted Siyoni or had hurt him in any way.

"I also had him sign my pocket book, to say that I observed his injury," said Greeff.

Right to an attorney

AS IT HAPPENED: Panayiotou defence questions Siyoni arrest conditions

Greeff said he had not observed a split lip, nor had he noticed Siyoni's pants being torn and falling off, saying that if he had, he would have asked Koen to get him another pair.

Greeff also told the court that he had asked Koen if Siyoni was aware of his rights and if he was aware that he could have an attorney present.

He told the court that not far from the Kabega Park charge office, Siyoni had asked him when he could get an attorney.

"I told him that he could have one any time he would like one, and I asked him specifically if he would like to see one now, because then I would not have driven further, I would have turned back to the charge office [to arrange one]," said Greeff.

Greeff said Siyoni had said he was just asking and they continued on their way.

Greeff told the court the trip had been uneventful, with the highlight being Siyoni snoring in the back as he slept.

He said he had joked with his partner, Sergeant Diane Louise Reynolds, about Siyoni keeping him awake.

Greeff shared light anecdotes with the court, saying Siyoni had been in a jovial mood on the way back from Fort Beaufort, laughing at Greeff who was teasing Reynolds and at one stage asking if they were married.

Embarrassment

READ: Panayiotou trial witnesses hit kudu on their way to testify

Greeff told the court how he had given Reynolds some money and she had bought the three of them pies and cool drinks at the Total garage in Fort Beaufort before they left to return to Port Elizabeth.

"The cool drink I still remember. Reynolds asked if he wanted Coke or Energade as he was such a fitness freak," he said.

Greeff also told of how, when they had stopped in Grahamstown to refuel, Siyoni seemed to know a lot of people. He said Siyoni had told him he had worked as a bouncer there during the Grahamstown Festival.

"What I do remember is that he had taken my jacket and pulled it over himself to cover the handcuffs, as if he was embarrassed," he said.

Jayde Panayiotou, 29, was abducted outside her home in Kabega Park, Port Elizabeth, on April 21.

She was found shot dead in a veld outside KwaNobuhle, Uitenhage, the following day.

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

The alleged hitman, Sizwezakhe Vumazonke, died in September.

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Read more on:    jayde panayiotou  |  christopher panayiotou  |  port elizabeth  |  crime
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