Five things to expect at Christopher Panayiotou's bail bid tomorrow

MAY 19, 2015

Port Elizabeth businessman, Christopher Panayiotou, who stands accused of masterminding the murder of his wife, Uitenhage teacher, Jayde Panayiotou, will continue with his bail bid on Wednesday. The case has generated so much public interest ever since it was speculated that Christopher could have had a hand in the murder.

Here are five things you can expect at his bail hearing.

New lawyer

A new lawyer, representing Christopher’s alleged mistress, is expected to be in court on Wednesday.

Danie Gouws, who was hired by Chanelle Coutts, the personnel manager of the OK Grocer in Algoa Park, will be ensuring that the state (or anyone) does not further defame his client’s reputation during proceedings.

“My client is currently ill and on sick leave. I will represent her in court on Wednesday and act if necessary,” Gouws told News24.

Christopher’s legal representation, Advocate Terry Price, said it was “good that Coutts appointed a lawyer because the State is bullying her because they don’t have witnesses”.

However, it is not clear if the state will call Coutts to testify.

More arguments for and against bail

Price has previously claimed Christopher has a 90% chance of getting bail, claiming; “The magistrate (Abigail Beaton) has no reason to refuse bail. It’s just Stander (for the State) who thinks there’s a reason.”

The State believes Panayiotou should not get bail as it considered Jayde’s death a Schedule 6 offence, which in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act, is regarded as extremely serious.

More picketing outside court

The Democratic Alliance’s Women’s Network (DAWN) has announced plans to picket outside the PE Magistrate’s Courts in its ‘Justice for Jayde’ campaign from 09:00 until the hearing starts.

“We support due process and constitutional democracy and will not rest until all the women of this, our beautiful province, can walk safely in our streets and SA has lost its status as the country with the highest rate of rape in the world and an increasing rate of Femicide,” the organisation said in a statement.

“DAWN stands for ‘Justice for Jayde’ and honours the constitutional principle of innocent until proven guilty. We urge the people of our Metro to do the same.”

AfriForum in Port Elizabeth has also been picketing at the court saying it opposed bail for suspects in serious crimes such as rape, hijacking and murder.

High media contingent

The murder case has, without a doubt, attracted huge public interest – and equal amount of media coverage – almost equal to the media interest that was seen during the Oscar Pistorius and Anni Dewani trials.

Last week, Times Media Limited was granted permission to place one camera in the court for live streaming, and one stills camera. The cameras will not be allowed to move or interfere with any of proceedings.

No flash photograph or recording of consultations between Panayiotou and his counsel would be allowed and other media can only take pictures during the adjournments.

Still, some media houses have indicated that they will be covering the bail application live on TV.

More people will also be following the proceedings on social media.

Judge’s decision

In the end, the judge’s decision will be what everyone will be following on.

At this point, there seems to be no clear indication of where the judge might be leaning towards – despite popular public opinion that Christopher must remain behind bars until his next appearance with his other co-accused on 19 June.

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