Panayiotou murder trial set for 11 October, State and Defence ready

SEPTEMBER 15, 2016

At a brief pre-trial hearing of the Panayiotou murder case on Thursday, the Port Elizabeth High Court's Judge Glenn Goosen announced that both the State and the Defence had indicated that they were ready to proceed to trial, which will kick-off in the court in October. The trial has been set for between October 11 and December 2.

Judge Goosen also announced that Judge Dayalin Chetty will be presiding over the trial of disgraced Port Elizabeth businessman, Christopher Panayiotou, and two alleged accomplices, Sinethemba Nenembe and Zolani Sibeko.

The trio will be tried without alleged hitman, Sizwezakhe Vumazonke, who died at the beginning of September after slipping into a coma at Livingstone Hospital in Port Elizabeth, where he had been admitted after falling ill.

The initial pre-trial hearing on 25 August was postponed to the 5th of September after Vumazonke's legal council told the presiding Judge Glenn Goosen that Vumazonke was ill and needed to be taken to the hospital.

Still, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said that Vumazonke's death will not affect the state's case against Panayiotou and his co-accused

Calculated murder

It is alleged that Panayiotou paid Luthando Siyoli, 31, a bouncer at his nightclub in Algoa Park, R75 000 to hire a hitman Vumazonke, 30, for the murder of his wife, Jayde.

Late in October last year, Nenembe, 28, who is related to Vumazonke, was also linked to the case, after police arrested him for the murder of 72 year old Denise Webber on 20 August 2015 in Kabega Park, Port Elizabeth.

The 25th of August was the first time that Sibeko, who previously claimed that his surname was Roxo, appeared with the other accused.

He was arrested in July in Greenbushes connection with Jayde's murder and has previously appeared in the Port Elizabeth’s Magistrate’s Court where he was denied bail.

According to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), police used cellphone plotting and placed Sibeko outside the Panayiotou's Stellen Glen complex at the time that Vumazonke and Nenembe allegedly kidnapped Jayde.

In June, Panayiotou was denied bail by the Port Elizabeth Magistrates' Court for the second time after his legal team failed to convince the court of new facts that would warrant bail.

Siyoni has since turned State witness and it has been the defence's case that he was assaulted by the police to get a confession out of him - the same confession that implicated Panayiotou.

Image: eNCA