Christopher Panayiotou bail hearing postponed
The bail appeal of Port Elizabeth businessman, Christopher Panayiotou, who is accused of masterminding the murder of his wife, Port Elizabeth teacher, Jayde, was postponed by the Grahamstown High Court to July 28. On Monday, the High Court heard arguments from both the state and defense on why Panayiotou, who was absent, should be denied/granted bail.
Panayiotou is accused of paying a bouncer at his Infinity night club, Thando Siyoli, 31, to hire alleged hitman, Sizwezakhe Vumazonke, 30, to kidnap and murder Jayde.
His newly-appointed defence, Advocate, Mike Hellens, SC, who was accompanied by his other legal counsel, Advocate Terry Price, concluded in his arguments that “that all aspects of justice can be served without Panayiotou awaiting trial behind bars”.
Hellens said a claim by an investigating officer that Panayiotou had applied for the passport before Jayde's death was reckless because on closer inspection, it was done years ago.
He said Panayiotou was "born and bred in South Africa" and had three profitable businesses and a good credit record. He also has a supportive family network.
"Christopher Panayiotou is being kept in solitary confinement. He gets released for hour for exercise. He's innocent until proven guilty," Hellens told the court.
Hellens said Panayiotou could offer a bail of R200 000 and the Judge could also attach stringent conditions to his bail as well as red-flag his passport so that he does not flee.
The defence also offered that Panayiotou could pay guards to monitor him on behalf of the court if he is granted bail.
Earlier, Hellens had tried to gain access to the statements made by Panayiotou's girlfriend, Chanelle Coutts, and her friend, Clarissa Kapp, as well as the submissions relating to Siyoli, but Goosen denied his request.
State prosecutor, Marius Stander, concluded that Panayiotou “interfered with state’s case even prior to arrest”.
Judge Glenn Goosen stated that he needed time to consider his judgment.
The application was heard in the presence of Panayiotou's family and Jayde's family. The latter wore black and yellow T-shirts in support of the murdered schoolteacher.
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