Second sitting of Panayiotou trial comes to an end

2017-05-05 13:59
Christopher Panayiotou (Werner Hills, Netwerk24)

Christopher Panayiotou (Werner Hills, Netwerk24)

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Port Elizabeth - The second sitting of the Christopher Panayiotou trial came to an end in the Eastern Cape High Court in Port Elizabeth on Friday, with Panayiotou's defence counsel concluding their case in the trial within a trial.

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

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

The trial within a trial revolves around the admissibility of a video recording of a conversation between Panayiotou and his bouncer, Luthando Siyoni, the alleged middleman turned State witness.

Bouncer's brother

Proceedings were once again delayed on Friday morning, with court only beginning at 11:15, as the defence's last witness, Siyoni's younger brother Siyanda Nongogo, arrived late.

Defence Advocate Terry Price, SC, apologised to the court for the delay. He then proceeded to ask Nongogo about the night in April 2015, when Siyoni had come to the house accompanied by police officers.

Nongogo said he had woken up with a police officer searching his room and had seen his brother in the front of the house in Zwide with a swollen eye, but could not recall which eye was swollen.

He said he had asked his brother what was going on, and that he had replied that everything was going to be okay.

Price then asked Nongogo if he recognised a pair of jeans that had been placed before the court as exhibit A by the defence.

Nongogo said he did not observe the condition of the jeans Siyoni had been wearing - referring to a wide tear at the back of the jeans on display before the court - but that he had noticed his brother was holding his jeans up.

During cross-examination, State prosecutor Marius Stander asked Nongogo if he had noticed if his brother was wearing a belt or not. Nongogo said he did not observe if he had been wearing one.

Stander also put it to Nongogo that his mother's testimony on Thursday differed from his, in her account of when they had seen Siyoni in the front of their house on the night in question.

Defence concludes case

After Nongogo was excused, Price again asked Judge Dayalin Chetty if he could approach State witnesses, specifically Chanelle Coutts and Donovan Vosloo.

He said he wanted to be clear, because when he had asked previously, the State had not yet concluded their case.

Chetty said he had not changed his mind, whereupon Price said that he was closing his case for the trial within a trial.

Price then asked to address Chetty on the matter of closing arguments. Price said, with the court record already over 3 000 pages long, it would take some time to prepare his heads of argument.

"I don't want to hold things up. I can assure you, you will have my heads of argument before the 12th of June." said Price, in reference to the next scheduled sitting of the trial.

"If you tell me you're not ready, I can't force you," said Chetty.

Price asked the court if dates could be set, as the State would need to file their heads of argument before he could submit his own.

Stander indicated he would have his heads ready by the week ending on June 2, with Price then committing to have his in by Wednesday of the following week.

"The case is then, unfortunately, postponed to 12 June," said Chetty, before adjourning.

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

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