Christopher Panayiotou murder case postponed again to March

JANUARY 11, 2016

Christopher Panayiotou and his co-accused, who are on trial for the murder of his wife Jayde in April 2015, will have to wait until March for the case to be referred to the High Court.

It is alleged that Panayiotou paid Luthando Siyoli, 31, a bouncer at his nightclub in Algoa Park, to hire a hitman, identified as Sizwezakhe Vumazonke, 30, to murder his wife.

Late in October last year, Sinethemba Nenembe, 28, was also linked to the case.

Siyoli has since turned State witness.

Addressing Magistrate Lisa Keech in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate's Court on Monday, prosecutor Marius Stander said the investigation was still underway, as they were waiting for assistance from the United States Department of Homeland Security. 

Stander said the relevant documentation for assistance had been signed off by a judge last year on December 9.

The State is seeking assistance to retrieve information of conversations which were wiped from Panayiotou's phone.

Stander requested the case be postponed to March 11, after which it would be referred to the High Court for a trial date.

He indicated that his diary had been freed up to proceed with a trial in the third term, which commences in July.

Advocate Terry Price, appearing for Panayiotou, requested that Stander keep them informed of the progress of the State's case on a fortnightly basis.

He also raised concerns over the delays, saying his client had been in a holding cell and awaiting trial for nine months already.

"This has caused immeasurable suffering for my client and his family, both financially and emotionally," he said.

Price said he wanted the State to take positive steps to determine when they were likely to get a trial date, as this would impact on the possibility of a future bail application for Panayiotou.

Attorney Michelle Blignaut, representing Vumazonke, who was out on bail at the time of his arrest, said her client was serving the remainder of his sentence for a previous conviction relating to a robbery of a liquor store in 2014. She said his sentence ended on January 14, after which she had been instructed to seek bail for him.

Nenembe's legal team said they had no objections to the State's proposed date.

Magistrate Keech then postponed the matter to March 11.