Panayiotou denied leave to apply for bail again

Murder-accused Christopher Panayiotou in court to hear his bail judgment. (Derrick Spies, News24)
Murder-accused Christopher Panayiotou in court to hear his bail judgment. (Derrick Spies, News24)
 

Port Elizabeth - Christopher Panayiotou will remain behind bars until his trial, after the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court on Friday denied him leave to submit a second bail application. 

Magistrate Abigail Beeton ruled that his lawyer had presented no new facts to the court to warrant another application. 

Panayiotou is accused of orchestrating the murder of his 29-year-old wife, Jayde, a schoolteacher, in April last year. He would go on trial along with the alleged hit man, Sizwezakhe Vumazonke, and Sinethemba Nenembe, who had been linked to the murder recently.

Luthando Siyoni, a bouncer at Panayiotou's nightclub in Algoa Park, who allegedly acted as the middleman, had turned State witness.

Jayde’s father and mother embraced in the court room after the decision was announced.

Beeton said the defence and State had placed a substantial amount of evidence before the court. It however had to be satisfied that such facts were new and relevant to the new bail application.

“They must not constitute simply a reshuffling of old evidence or an embroidering upon it,” she said.

Flight risk

Terry Price, for Panayiotou, had earlier argued that Siyoni was assaulted before giving his statement implicating Panayiotou in the alleged plot to kill Jayde.

Based on the assault, Siyoni’s evidence would most likely be thrown out during trial, which would significantly weaken the State’s case, he argued.

Beeton said Price failed to address concerns about Panayiotou being a flight risk, or about him interfering with witnesses and possibly tampering with evidence. 

While there was perhaps merit in the claim that Siyoni’s rights were infringed during his initial detainment, this was for the trial judge to decide, she said.

“The trial judge will have to determine if any of Siyoni’s rights have been violated, and having decided that some or other right has been violated, whether what follows is fruit of poisoned tree and is admissible or not. And how much of that fruit will be admissible,” she said.

Panayiotou would remain in custody until his trial in the Port Elizabeth High Court. A pre-trial date had been set for July 26. The trial was scheduled to begin on October 10.




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