Christopher Panayiotou appeals bail decision in Grahamstown High Court

JULY 20, 2015

UPDATE ON CHRISTOPHER PANAYIOTOU BAIL DECISION APPEAL

Murder-accused Christopher Panayiotou is expected to appear in the High Court in Grahamstown on Monday to appeal against the decision to deny him bail.

Panayiotou, 28, is accused of conspiring to have his wife, Jayde, 29, murdered.

He allegedly hired Luthando Siyoli, 31, a bouncer in his employ at the Infinity club in Algoa Park, Port Elizabeth, to find a hitman, Sizwezakhe Vumazonke, 30, to kidnap and murder her.

Jayde was kidnapped on Tuesday, April 21, while waiting outside her complex in Kabeka Park for her lift to Riebeek College Girls' High School in Uitenhage, where she worked as a teacher. Her body was found near KwaNobuhle, Uitenhage, the next day.

Bail denied

On  June 5, the Port Elizabeth Magistrate's Court denied Panayiotou bail. Magistrate Abigail Beeton said the State's case was “reasonably strong” and “decisive”.

Beeton said Panayiotou's dual citizenship with Cyprus, and the fact that he had no dependents, were among the reasons for her decision. She said if investigating officer Kanna Swanepoel had not told the court that Panayiotou had dual citizenship, the court would not have know about it.

Panayiotou’s lawyers Alwyn Griebenow and Terry Price have brought in advocate Mike Hellens to help with the application. Hellens has held a position as an acting judge and has represented Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir, murdered mining mogul Brett Kebble, and former Fidentia boss J Arthur Brown.

Defence unhappy with bail judgment

In his notice of appeal, Griebenow said Beeton had erroneously made findings in favour of the State even though such evidence was contradicted by far more reliable evidence from the defence; dismissed numerous material factors put to the court by Panayiotou; elevated the concept of exceptional and compelling circumstances to a degree not required by law; and found Panayiotou to be a flight risk and that he could interfere with witnesses, despite the fact that there was no reliable evidence supporting this.

Panayiotou and his co-accused are expected to appear in court again on August 13 in connection with the murder.

--News24wire