Surprise witness in Panayiotou case

2017-09-27 13:34
Christopher Panayiotou in court. (Derrick Spies/News24)

Christopher Panayiotou in court. (Derrick Spies/News24)

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Port Elizabeth – Christopher Panayiotou’s defence opened its case with a surprise witness who disputed evidence given by the police that they had permission to go ahead with the audio and video recording from the Director of Public Prosecutions.

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 abducted 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, in 2015. She was found shot dead in a veld outside KwaNobuhle, in Uitenhage, the following day.

Defence advocate, Terry Price SC, called Advocate Selvan Gounden from the Director of Public Prosecutions.

ALSO READ: Panayiotou: He spoke about Jayde's murder 'as if he was ordering a hamburger'

Price pointed out that investigating officer Kanna Swanepoel had testified in the trial-within-a-trial that he had called Gounden on two separate occasions to get permission to go ahead with the audio and video recording of the meeting between Panayiotou and alleged middleman, turned state witness, Luthando Siyoni.

Gounden however, who heads up the organised crime component, denied this.

He told the court that at the time of the operation, in April 2015, the DPP had not delegated authority to him to handle section 252A applications, related to permission for sting operations, as this had been delegated to Advocate Malherbe Marais.

Gounden said he had only returned to the position in June 2017, and said he was unfortunately not aware of the detectives requesting permission for the sting.

'I was not informed'

Gounden also told the court that he had consulted with State advocate Marius Stander earlier this year, and had made it clear that it was not the person who had given consent.

Stander then requested that Gounden stand down until Thursday, as he had not been informed that the defence would be calling him.

"I was told by the defence that they were consulting with further witnesses, and if they call anyone else I would be informed. I was not informed," he said.

Stander said that, before he cross-examined Gounden, there were certain procedures that needed to be followed, and he needed to get permission from the DPP.

He also said he needed to determine whether Gounden had followed the necessary procedures to testify.

Price said he did not know what Stander needed to prepare as he had already consulted with Gounden.

"Whether he got permission to testify or not is irrelevant," said Price.

Judge Dayalin Chetty then excused Gounden.

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

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