Panayiotou's leave to appeal application dismissed

Christopher Panayiotou, along with his co-accused. (Derrick Spies, News24)
Christopher Panayiotou, along with his co-accused. (Derrick Spies, News24)

Christopher Panayiotou's application for leave to appeal his conviction was dismissed in the Eastern Cape High Court in Port Elizabeth on Thursday.

Panayiotou was found guilty of murder in November last year and was sentenced to life for orchestrating the killing of his wife, Jayde.

His co-accused, Sinethemba Nenembe and Zolani Sibeko, were also sentenced in the same court in 2017.

Read: Panayiotou case: Judge overlooked vital evidence, defence lawyer argues

Nenembe was sentenced to life for murder and 15 years for robbery. Sibeko, who was found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder, was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Judge Dayalin Chetty said the test for leave to appeal was whether there was a reasonable prospect of success.

He said while the procedural grounds to appeal were clearly set out, Panayiotou's application was "not a model of clarity and offends against the spirit and purport of section 316 of the criminal procedures act."

Chetty said the application was an amalgam of "inane ad vituperative [bitter and abusive] comment, and is moreover interspersed with belligerent innuendo."

Chetty said ordinarily the application would have been struck off the roll, but this would have merely delayed the inevitable.

Chetty said Panayiotou's defence attorney, advocate Terry Price, SC, had advanced arguments that circumvented the facts that had underpinned the conviction and established beyond reasonable doubt that Panayiotou had orchestrated Jayde's murder.

Chetty said the judgement, on the other hand, had documented the full extent of the plan Panayiotou and self-confessed middleman, Luthando Siyoni had devised.

"The attack against the judgement had to avoid crucial findings ad focus instead on a plethora of disingenuous suppositions, the real victim, Jayde, being supplanted by other would be victims in the personage of the first applicant, Siyoni and [Babalwa] Breakfast."

"As I emphasized in my judgement, the only victim is Jayde," he said.

Chetty said Price's arguments were, in his opinion, entirely without merit and dismissed the application.

He also dismissed the applications brought by Nenembe and Sibeko, saying their application had been a regurgitation of the submissions advanced during the trial and which had been fully addressed in his judgement.

Following the court proceedings, Price indicated that they would be petitioning the supreme court of appeal in Bloemfontein.

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