Panayiotou: Defence hammers investigating officer's claims on motive

2017-05-02 19:27
The accused, Panayiotou, Sinethemba Nenembe and Zolani Sibeko in court. (Werner Hills, Netwerk24)

The accused, Panayiotou, Sinethemba Nenembe and Zolani Sibeko in court. (Werner Hills, Netwerk24)

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Port Elizabeth - The cross examination of the investigating officer in the Panayiotou trial within a trial has come to an end in the Eastern Cape High Court in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday, after a gruelling third day of questioning by the defence.

Panayiotou and his co-accused, Sinethemba Nenembe and Zolani Sibeko, are facing charges of conspiring, kidnapping, robbing and killing Jayde, who was abducted outside her townhouse complex in Kabega Park and later murdered in a field near KwaNobuhle on April 21, 2015.

A fourth suspect, Sizwezakhe Vumazonke, the alleged hitman, died before the trial began.

Investigating officer Kanna Swanepoel was called to testify in the trial within a trial to determine the admissibility of the recording of Panayiotou and his bouncer, Luthando Siyoni, the alleged middleman turned state witness shortly after Jayde's murder.

Panayiotou's defence counsel has argued that Siyoni was tortured into making his confession and, as such, all further evidence should be inadmissible as "fruit of the poisonous tree".

AS IT HAPPENED: Swanepoel avoids answering defence counsel in Panayiotou trial

Misled the court

Defence advocate Terry Price bombarded Swanepoel with questions during the third day of cross examination.

Price put it to Swanepoel that he had deliberately misled the court during the initial bail application for Panayiotou in 2015.

Price pointed out that Swanepoel had said that the various facts and allegations in his affidavit submitted to magistrate Abigail Beeton in the bail application were substantiated by sworn affidavits.

After repeated questioning on various aspects mentioned in his affidavit - including the motive for the murder being financial, the fact that Panayiotou's father had threatened to disown him if he divorced Jayde and that Panayiotou's mistress had been upset about his marriage - Swanepoel had to concede that he did not have sworn affidavits to substantiate his statements.

Price repeatedly challenged Swanepoel, accusing him of refusing to answer questions put to him, while Swanepoel, in turn, continued to elaborate on various matters raised by Price.

"It will go a lot faster, Mr Swanepoel, if you just stick to answering 'yes' or 'no'," Price said at one point during the cross examination.

Price also confronted Swanepoel on a statement he had made, in which he said Panayiotou had deleted Facebook messages from his phone.

Swanepoel said they knew this to be the case as conversations between Siyoni and Panayiotou, which were made available to police by Siyoni, could not be found on Panayiotou's phone.

Witness access

Asked if the conversation between Siyoni and Panayiotou had directly referred to the murder or the plotting of the murder, Swanepoel conceded that it had not.

Price also questioned Swanepoel about if he had ever visited with Chanelle Coutts with Constable Koen, wherein he had instructed her not to tell her mother about the meeting and where he had asked her if she or Panayiotou had ever done cocaine, or if she was aware of the fact that Siyoni and Panayiotou were selling cocaine from the Infinity Cocktail Lounge.

Price said he wanted to place it on record that he had not consulted with Coutts himself, but that this was information that had been given to him by a family member.

Swanepoel said he could not recall asking her those specific questions, but said it was possible he had met with her and questioned her.

After Swanepoel was dismissed, Price pointed out that the state was reaching the end of their case in the trial within a trial and again requested if he could have access to state witnesses, specifically Coutts and Donovan Vosloo, but judge Dayalin Chetty denied his application, saying: "I have not changed my mind."

Price said he should be ready to proceed with his case on Wednesday, but that some of his witnesses would need to be subpoenaed.

Court was then adjourned.

The trial continues on Wednesday at 09:30.

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

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