Christopher Panayiotou bail decision postponed to Friday

JUNE 4, 2015

The decision in the bail hearing for Christopher Panayiotou will now be heard in the Port Elizabeth Magistrates Court on Friday at 10am. Magistrate Abigail Beeton, who in the morning admitted it will not be easy to decide on whether or not to grant bail, said she will furnish reasons next week.

In the morning, Magistrate Beeton said that the court has to consider fact that Panayiotou, who has spent over a month in the St Albans holding cells, has handed in his South African ID, driver’s license and his new Cyprus ID card.

But prosecutor, Marius Stander, says Panayiotou remains flight risk, regardless if he's handed Cypriot ID card as it's not a travel document.

She asked the Defense has to consult with client what a "reasonable" amount for bail would be, should it be granted.

Defense advocate, Terry Price, told the court that the businessman would be able to afford R50 000 bail.

Price also said that his client is willing to carry "special" cell phone that he can contacted on, whereabouts traced.

Stander also said that a live tracking a cellphone costs R70 000 a day and court order needed.

Price adamant says; "What I meant by tracking is that state can call my client anytime and ask about his whereabouts, then go there to check."

The NPA and Prosecution have confirmed in court that Panayiotou's mistress, Chanelle Coutts, will testify against him when trial starts on June 19. She is expected to shed light on "direct motive" for Jayde Panayiotou's kidnapping and killing.

Hence, Coutts will be at risk if Panayiotou is released on bail as they work at same company.

Price said it was not confirmed if alleged middleman, Luthando Siyoli, will testify for state as negotiations are ongoing while the State confirmed a deal with him.

Still, Price also argues that the State "thumb sucked" a motive, using Panayiotou's extramarital affair and called it laughable that the State wanted to look into his client's business books.

Stander responded saying they had established a motive; "State's case is accused killed wife because combined financial demand from wife, mistress was too great." State says it's on record that accused was "spending too much money, forced to buy house against his will".

Meanwhile Advo Stander has admitted that alleged middleman, Siyoli, didn't have legal representation at time that he made his confession to "police official".

Price has also made references to the Thandi Maqubela murder case at which Magistrate Beaton interrupted; "You've already raised Oscar, Dewani cases, Mr Price".

"The state will prove divorce was not an option," prosecutor Stander also tells the court. He claims Panayiotou "could not" divorce Jayde because he would have been disinherited, "easier option was to kill".

Magistrate Beeton enquires from state prosecutor; "So your case is that the accused had a wife with expensive taste?"

Adv Price says "this is pure, rampant speculation".

Court has adjourned.

Filling the courtroom included the media as well as Christopher’s and Jayde’s families.

Panayiotou faces charges of conspiracy to commit murder, murder‚ kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances and defeating the ends of justice.