Panayiotou trial to continue next year

2016-12-01 17:04
The accused, Christopher Panayiotou, Sinethemba Nenembe and Zolani Sibeko in court. (Werner Hills, Netwerk24)

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

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Port Elizabeth - The first sitting of the trial of Christopher Panayiotou and his co-accused for the murder of his wife Jayde has drawn to a close, and will only resume in April next year.

During the final day in court, defence counsel for Panayiotou applied to Judge Dayalin Chetty that a court order be granted to allow them to consult with some of the State witnesses. 

Panayiotou, Sinethemba Nenembe and Zolani Sibeko are on trial on charges of conspiring, kidnapping, robbing, and killing Jayde.

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.

Advocate Terry Price, SC, said the defence would like to consult with State witnesses Chanelle Coutts, Donovan Vosloo, Wilna van der Berg, as well as Babalwa Breakfast and Luthando Siyoni, who have already testified.

State witness

Siyoni is believed to have organised the alleged hitman, Sizwe Vumazonke, who died in hospital in September. Siyoni turned State witness after his arrest.

Price argued that the witnesses, specifically Coutts, were critical to the case and that it was vital that the defence had access to them. Price also pointed out that Siyoni was a critical witness for the trial within a trial, as the way he was treated was central to the admissibility of the conversation between him and Panayiotou. 

Price also indicated that the State would be allowed to attend any of these consultations and that the defence was even prepared to record the interviews. He also said, should any of the witnesses choose not to be interviewed by them, they would respect that.

Price also requested that a separate order be made that the State provide the defence with the names of any witnesses not on the State’s witness list, as well as the relevant affidavits, before the recommencement of the trial next year. 

Prosecutor Marius Stander said the State opposed the application. He said the defence had asked the State if it intended calling the witnesses, and whether they could consult with them.

Access to witnesses denied

Stander said the application was premature at best, as the trial within a trial would determine the direction of the State’s case and, based on that, they would decide who to call.

Stander also asked, seeing as most of the witnesses mentioned had legal representation, why the defence simply didn’t put their requests for specific information in writing.

"Why is the court not being told what the defence wants to ask the witnesses," he asked. 

Stander said he would leave the decision on Siyoni and Breakfast in the hands of the court as both had been declared hostile and had already led evidence. 

Chetty said he had already dismissed Siyoni and would call him again when he discussed the merits of his testimony in terms of his section 204 status. 

Chetty then dismissed the defence’s application for access to the witnesses. He did, however, order that Stander provide Price with a comprehensive list of the witnesses he intended calling, as well as the relevant affidavits. 

Chetty then confirmed the dates of the next two sittings in 2017, with the first scheduled from April 19 to May 5, and the second from June 12 to June 30.

Read more on:    christopher panayiotou  |  port elizabeth  |  court

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