Panayiotou bail decision appeal suffers major setback

JULY 2, 2015

Murder-accused and Port Eliizabeth businessman, Christopher Panayiotou's, attempts to appeal a decision by Magistrate Abigail Beeton no to grant him bail, which was set to be heard this week, could have suffered a major delay. 

Panayiotou, who is being held at St Albans Prison, is accused of masterminding the faked abduction and subsequent murder of his wife Jayde Panayiotou in April. He was denied bail early in June and his legal team launched an appeal last week.

However, the matter has been delayed because of a dispute over which court should deal with the application.

His lawyers have confirmed to EWN that they prefer the matter be argued in the Grahamstown High Court, in Grahamstwon, but says it has nothing to do with avoiding the media.

The National Prosecuting Authority has, however, objected, saying there is no reason why the case should be heard away from Port Elizabeth, where the case has been heard ever since.

Magistrate erred in bail denial 

Panayiotou's new advocate, Mike Hellens, who previously represented convicted fraudster, J Arthur Brown, and slain mining magnate, Brett Kebble, is expected to lead the businessman’s latest bail attempt this week.

The arguments will focus on discrediting Magistrate Abigail Beeton’s handling of his previous failed bail attempt.

Why Panayiotou is desperate to get out of jail: it is probably important that he gets bail as it was previously revealed that could spend more than a year in prison awaiting trial for allegedly masterminding the abduction and killing of his school teacher wife, Jayde.

During his previous bail application, Panayiotou’s legal counsel, advocate Terry Price said that the court rolls were packed and that his client would have to wait till the latter half of 2016 to be tried.

Magistrate made mistakes

As indicated in the notice of appeal, which was lodged with the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court last week by Panayiotou’s legal counsel, the main argument will be that presiding Magistrate Abigail Beeton grossly erred in denying him bail early on in June.

In the notice to appeal, Panayiotou’s lawyers have highlighted 26 instances that they claim Magistrate Beeton erred in her refusal to grant their client bail last month.

Chief among them, is that the Magistrate was self-contradictory and biased and relied on ‘thumb sucked’ State arguments in her decision.

The defence believes that Beeton simply and incorrectly brushed aside several important factors, like prison conditions and the fact that Panayiotou is a first-time offender.

In the hearing this week, the businessman’s lawyers are also expected to explain fully why they have accused Magistrate Beeton of being biased and self-contradictory.

For the full 26 reasons why Panayiotou’s lawyers believe Magistrate Beeton erred read HERE.