Panayiotou's legal team to argue for release of his docket

NOVEMBER 24, 2015

Update: FIREWORKS IN COURT AS PANAYIOTOU'S NEW BAIL APPLICATION IS WITHDRAWN

The application brought by Christopher Panayiotou to have the State hand over the case docket will be heard on Tuesday by Magistrate Abigail Beeton in Port Elizabeth.

Beeton rescheduled the court hearing on Friday after Panayiotou was a no show in court. Panayiotou is accused of orchestrating the murder of his wife, 29-year-old school teacher Jayde, in April this year.

The State alleges that he paid Luthando Siyoli, 31, a bouncer at his nightclub in Algoa Park, to hire a hit man, identified as Sizwezakhe Vumazonke, 30, to murder his wife.

Late last month Sinethemba Nenembe, 28, was also linked to the case and will join Panayiotou and Vumazonke in the dock. Siyoli has since turned State witness.

Panayiotou not present in court

News24 previously reported that Beeton had requested the court orderly to bring Panayiotou into court on Friday, but he was not there. 

When asked why Panayiotou was not present, his advocate Terry Price said his understanding was that Panayiotou did not have to be present and no arrangements had been made for him to be brought from St Albans prison.

Beeton emphasised that she was "bound by the four corners of the Criminal Procedures Act" which dictated that any application brought required the accused to be present in court. Prosecutor Marius Stander agreed with Beeton on the need to have Panayiotou present in court.

Stander said that before the application to hand over the docket was heard, a decision needed to be made on whether the magistrate's court had the necessary jurisdiction to make such an order.

He said the State would argue that, while an accused is entitled to bring an application for the case docket as part of a bail application, there was currently no bail application before the court.

Price countered, saying that for Panayiotou to bring a new bail application, he would need to present new evidence to the court and, to do so, they needed access to the case docket.

New bail application needs new evidence

Beeton cautioned Price that, should he wish to lodge a new bail application on behalf of Panayiotou, he would need to bring new evidence and not simply reshuffle previous arguments.

Price has to file brief heads of argument relating to points raised by Stander about the jurisdiction of a magistrate's court before next Tuesday's proceedings.

Beeton denied Panayiotou’s first bail application when he appeared in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court on June 5. A subsequent appeal in the High Court in Grahamstown was turned down in July.

He has been in custody at the St Albans Correctional Facilities since his arrest.