Panayiotou bail attempt could resume today after multiple postponements

MAY 26, 2016

The bail application of Port Elizabeth businessman, Christopher Panayiotou, who is accused of orchestrating the faked hijacking and subsequent murder of his teacher wife, Jayde, in April last year, may finally resume today in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate's Court after another postponement on Wednesday.

The application had been postponed to Wednesday on Friday last week after Magistrate Abigail Beeton fell ill.

The last time a hearing actually took place, on Thursday last week, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) had said that State the had been unable to argue in the bail hearing, due to the unavailability of documents. 

The prosecution also told the ourt that the defence had failed to put certain evidence on record as promised. 

The hearing was therefore postponed to allow the prosecution time to determine whether or not new facts have been presented before court. 

On Tuesday last week, when the bail hearing began, the disgraced businessman told the Port Elizabeth Magistrate's Court that he is innocent of the murder and placed the blame on his former barman, who has since turned state witness, Luthando Siyoni.

In a 67-page affidavit, he said sworn affidavits from his mistress, who was also his Manager at one of his businesses, Chanelle Coutts, and her best friend, Clarissa Kapp, did not implicated him contrary to what investigating officer, Kanna Swanepoel, told the court. 

Panayiotou denied being in financial difficulties, which the State says was part of the motive. He also disputed Swanepoel's statements that his father had threatened to disinherit him if he did not break off the affair with Coutts.

He said that after Siyoni was assaulted by the police, that is when he implicated him and he does not know why Siyoni planned to murder his wife though he believes Siyoni was into drug dealing.

Panayiotou again offered to pay what was deemed a fair bail amount and offered to wear an ankle bracelet and report to police as many times the court deemed necessary.

Panayiotou is making a third bid at bail in the court. He has been languishing at the St Albans Prison since his arrest in April last year after two previous attempts at bail failed.

Magistrate Beeton, who is hearing his third bail bid, initially refused him bail in June 2015 saying that, partly due to his dual citizenship, he was a flight risk and that he could also interfere with witnesses.

Unsatisfied, his lawyers appealed the decision at the Grahamstown High Court. That court upheld Magistrate Beeton's initial ruling.

In November, Panayiotou filed another application for bail only to withdraw it as his legal representation had not received the docket.

The hearing was postponed to Thursday and the State is expected to argue that Panayiotou's lawyers had not presented new facts that would warrant bail.

On Monday last week, the murder case was moved to the Port Elizabeth High Court for trial, which is expected to begin on 3 October.