Panayiotou trial: Last witness called

2017-10-17 19:43
Christopher Panayiotou in court. (Derrick Spies/News24)

Christopher Panayiotou in court. (Derrick Spies/News24)

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Port Elizabeth – The defence concluded its case in the Christopher Panayiotou trial in the Eastern Cape High Court in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday.

Panayiotou and his co-accused, Sinethemba Nenembe and Zolani Sibeko, are facing charges of conspiring, kidnapping, robbing and killing Panayiotou's wife Jayde.

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

The 29-year-old teacher was kidnapped outside her townhouse complex in Kabega Park, Port Elizabeth, while waiting for her lift to Riebeek College Girls High School, on the morning of Tuesday, April 21, 2015.

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

Before Tuesday morning's proceedings, Panayiotou's mistress, Chanelle Coutts, who finished testifying on Monday, was seen coming up from the holding cells, where she had apparently been visiting Panayiotou ahead of the trial. She then sat in the front row next to Panayiotou's mother.  

READ: Panayiotou Trial: Mistress takes to the stand

The move was too much for Michelle Inggs, Jayde's mother, who broke down and was consoled by friends and family who were sitting with her in the back row of the court.

Another state prosecutor called for defence

Advocate Terry Price SC, for Panayiotou, called the deputy director of public prosecutions, based in Port Elizabeth, Advocate Indra Goberdan.

Goberdan testified that she had contacted deputy director of public prosecutions Advocate Selwyn Gounden to ask for his opinion on the admissibility of video footage of Panayiotou talking to bouncer and alleged middleman, Luthando Siyoni.

She said the call had been made to Gounden only after Panayiotou had been arrested and appeared in court, so it was definitely after the fact.

ALSO READ: Few more witnesses called for Panayiotou defence

Goberdan said she had contacted Gounden after being contacted by another deputy director of public prosecutions, Advocate Malherbe Marais, who had asked her if she had given permission for the operation.

Under cross-examination by state prosecutor Marius Stander, who reports to Goberdan, she said that it was her opinion that a section 252a permit was not necessary for the sting operation to go ahead.

After Goberdan's testimony, Price concluded the defence's case for Panayiotou.

State's application turned down

Attorney Peter Dauberman then indicated he would not be calling any witnesses in relation to Nenembe or Sibeko's defence and closed their case.

Stander then brought an application to reopen the state's case, with the intent of calling Marais and state prosecutor Zelda Swanepoel to respond to Gounden's statements.

Judge Dayalin Chetty turned down the application.

ALSO READ: Surprise witness in Panayiotou case

Chetty then asked when the various parties would be ready to present their final arguments. After discussions, it was agreed that the arguments would be presented next Thursday and Friday.

The case was then adjourned and will resume on Thursday.

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

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