Panayiotou Trial to continue in June - ruling of the trial within a trial expected when court resumes

BY JESICA SLABBERT - MAY 5, 2017
Panayiotou Trial to continue in June - ruling of the trial within a trial expected when court resumes

Many people, who appeared at the Port Elizabeth High Court for the trial of murder accused, Christopher Panayiotou, on Friday, were expecting to see the end of the so called 'trial within a trial', however, delays saw proceedings begin later than expected.

Panayiotou is accused of orchestrating the kidnapping and murder of his wife Jayde in April 2015 along with co-accused Sinethemba Nenembe and Zolani Sibeko. The trial has been going on since October 2016.

The day started off with the Defence Advocate, Terry Price’s final witness, Siyanda Nogogo Siyoni, showing up late and delaying proceedings. Siyanda is the younger brother of alleged middleman, Luthando Siyoni.

Thursday's proceedings

During the previous day’s proceedings, the mothers of Luthando Siyoni and his girlfriend Babalwa Breakfast, were called as witnesses for the defence. They were asked about Siyoni and the state he was in after he was arrested.

They both testified that his face looked swollen and his one eye was swollen shut - hinting on the defence's arguement that Siyoni was assaulted by officers to extract a confession that was later used to implicate Panayiotou.

When State Prosecutor, Marius Stander, began his cross examination, he asked both mothers which eye it was that they said was swollen, and surprisingly they both said it was Siyoni’s right eye, but according to photos of Siyoni, it was his left eye that was swollen.

The jeans Siyoni was wearing during his arrest were also brought to the court's attention, as Siyoni alleged they were ripped while he was being assaulted by police.

Friday's proceedings

Siyoni’s brother was called as a last minute witness by Price to give his statement on the time that Siyoni’s home was alleged to be searched by police early in the morning and to provide his statement on Siyoni’s appearance.

“He was swollen on his face and eye,” said Siyanda.

When Price asked which eye, Siyanda said he could not recall.

Siyanda said that Siyoni was handcuffed and trying to hold his jeans up because they were torn.

"I did not observe the condition of the jeans but he was holding onto them. He was handcuffed,” said Siyanda.

When Stander began his cross examination he asked Siyanda how Siyoni was able to keep his pants up if he was cuffed with his hands in front of him. Siyanda could not recall.

Price then closed his case with Stander ready to argue. However Price said that he still needed time to go through the record, which is said to be over 2 000 pages, and that it is crucial he has everything in order for the trial within a trial.

Judge Chetty conceded and said that both attorneys need to have their arguments ready before the trial resumes again on 12 June.

The trial will resume again on the 12th of June at the Port Elizabeth High Court, where Judge Chetty is expected to give his ruling on the trial within a trial.