Secret recording in Panayiotou trial played in court

2016-11-30 21:31
Jayde Panayiotou (Supplied)

Jayde Panayiotou (Supplied)

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Port Elizabeth - The Eastern Cape High Court heard a secret recording on Wednesday of a conversation between police officer Leon Eksteen and a friend of the Panayiotou family, Philip Vosloo.

This after defence Advocate Terry Price asked the court if he could ask Eksteen, who was on the stand, one more question before the State re-examined him. When Price played the clip to the court, Eksteen could be heard asking what murder accused Christopher Panayiotou was thinking when he put his faith in "dumb kaffirs".

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

Eksteen said he could not recall the conversation with Vosloo, but agreed that the comment was not appropriate.

State prosecutor Marius Stander then told the court that while he intended asking Eksteen about the contents of the transcript of the secret recordings, he questioned its admissibility and legality.

No permission for recording

He said the transcript that had been given to the court was full of inaccuracies and there were vast tracks of the conversation that had not been transcribed.

Price objected, asking how Stander could lead the witness in testimony that he felt was inadmissible, but Judge Dayalin Chetty allowed Stander to proceed.

Eksteen told the court that he had not been the one who made the recordings, and that he had not given his permission for them to be made.

He also said that he was not aware if any of the other people present in the room were aware or had given permission for the recordings to be made.

Stander then asked Eksteen about an exchange between himself and another person in the room, in which Eksteen was asked how they could know he was not recording their conversation.

Eksteen said he recalled the conversation and that it had taken place between himself and a person named Angelo.

'Why will he go and kill her?'

Stander then pointed out that the transcript had allocated the exchange to Eksteen and Vosloo, which he said highlighted the inaccuracy of the transcript.

Stander then took Eksteen through the transcript, highlighting exchanges where the relationship between Christopher and his father, Costa Panayiotou, was discussed.

Stander asked Eksteen what fights Costa had been referring to when he discussed the matter with him, reading from the transcripts: "Costa: 'Leon [indistinct] Christopher knows, he knows. I had all the fights with him. You know the fights I had with him [indistinct]. Why will he go and kill her? Why go?'"

Eksteen said this was the fight Costa had had with Christopher relating to his affair with Chanelle Coutts, as per his testimony on Monday.

Stander then pointed out another quote attributed to Costa, where he says, "I am telling you I am not getting any blame on this, even if Christopher is found guilty, he will feel more guilty than me in court."

Stander also highlighted a part of the conversation between Vosloo and Eksteen where they discussed a fight between Costa and Christopher about his affair with Coutts.

"Ja, ek weet. Dit is die laaste family fight wat hulle gehad het was juis oor die gewees [Yes I know, the last family fight they had was in fact about this]," Vosloo tells Eksteen on the recording.

Witnesses not available

Vosloo continued saying, "Costa was meer bekommerd van die geld wat hy kan verloor in OK as oor Christopher se rampokkery [Costa was more worried about the money that he could lose in OK than over Christopher's racketeering]."

Vosloo also mentions how the family had battled to get rid of a woman named Jenny, who had apparently covered for Christopher, and by the time they had got rid of her, Christopher was already having an affair with Coutts.

Price again objected, asking what the relevance was. Stander pointed out that it was the first time he had been given access to the information, as the recordings had only been made available to the State on Tuesday.

Chetty then pointed out that this was still the trial within a trial, dealing with the admissibility of the conversation between Christopher and Siyoni.

Stander then asked for a brief adjournment as he was still waiting on witnesses.

When court reconvened, Chetty said he had been informed in chambers that the witnesses were not available and court adjourned for the day.

The trial is scheduled to resume tomorrow morning at 09:30.

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

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