Panayiotou trial: Did cops have permission to record calls?

2016-11-29 22:08
Christopher Panayiotou (Derrick Spies, News24)

Christopher Panayiotou (Derrick Spies, News24)

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Port Elizabeth – The question of whether permission was granted for a telephone call between murder accused Christopher Panayiotou and an alleged middleman to be recorded were raised in the High Court in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday.

Terry Price, for Panayiotou, asked a member of the police team who investigated Jayde Panayiotou’s murder, Leon Eksteen, if the alleged middleman, Luthando Siyoni, had given police permission to record phone calls.

Eksteen said investigating officer Kanna Swanepoel had asked him to contact a State advocate in Grahamstown to find out if they could proceed with their plan to record conversations between Panayiotou and Siyoni.

Eksteen said he had been told that, if either Panayiotou or Siyoni gave permission to have the call recorded, they were fine.

Price asked him if Siyoni had given them permission. Eksteen said Siyoni had agreed to make the calls. Price pointed out that this was not the same thing.

Conversations recorded

Eksteen said he did not know if Siyoni had given permission. He said Siyoni had spoken to Swanepoel, after which Swanepoel had asked him to record the conversations.

Panayiotou, Sinethemba Nenembe and Zolani Sibeko are on trial on charges of conspiring, kidnapping, robbing, and killing Panayiotou's wife Jayde. Siyoni allegedly found the alleged hitman, Sizwe Vumazonke, who died in hospital in September. Siyoni turned State witness after his arrest.

The 29-year-old teacher was kidnapped from outside her townhouse complex in Kabega Park, Port Elizabeth, while waiting for her lift to Riebeek College Girls High School on Tuesday, April 21 last year. She was found shot dead in a veld outside KwaNobuhle, Uitenhage, the following day.

Price asked Eksteen if he could recall a conversation between himself and Phillip Vosloo, a friend of the Panayiotous, regarding an apparent life insurance policy on Jayde valued between R3.5m and R6m.

Life insurance policy

He played a recording of Eksteen chatting to Vosloo, taken without Eksteen’s knowledge. Eksteen said they had speculated about the motive for the murder.

"The reason I am asking is that this was in the newspapers that Chris would benefit from a life insurance policy of R6m," said Price.

When Price completed questioning Eksteen, prosecutor Marius Stander asked if the court could stand down until 15:00, as he had only received the transcript of the recordings of Eksteen’s conversations on Tuesday morning.

When the court reconvened, Stander told Judge Dayalin Chetty that he had to go through the first transcript to verify its content.

Chetty then adjourned for the day. The trial would reconvene on Wednesday morning.

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

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