RECAP: How Christopher Panayiotou lost his bail bid

JUNE 13, 2015

Magistrate Abigail Beeton on Friday gave a report back to the State and Defence in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate's Court describing why she denied bail for Port Elizabeth businessman, Christopher Panayiotou, last week.

Panayiotou is accused of masterminding the abduction and murder of his school teacher wife, Jayde, who was shot three times and her body dumped in an area near Kwanobuhle in Uitenhage in April.

The hearing was attended by the Panayiotou family while Jayde's family were notably absent.

Beeton said that in her view;

  1. Panayiotou was a flight risk and no bail conditions guaranteed that he would stay in the country. She also said that handing in his travel documents did not count as control was not very effective at points of entry as shwon by George Luca, who fled to Cyprus after allegedly shooting dead Lolly Jackson.
  2. His bail bond offering of R50 000 seemed like an amount he could walk away from as he was in debt himself despite claims by the defense that he had various assets and interests to keep him here.
  3. Panayiotou had potential to interfere with witnesses - which would jeorpadise the case.
  4. He had failed to discharge the onus that exceptional circumstances existed for him to be released on bail - except for describing his cell conditions as dispicable and disgusting. Prison was not meant to be a holiday farm, she reminded him.
  5. Panayiotou could temper with evidence as the investigation was still incomplete.
  6. He was initially not forthwith with the court by not disclosing that he had dual citizenship in his founding affidavit. She said disclosing information about the Cyprus travel documents and his dual citizenship status was crucial in the determination of bail.
  7. The State had shown a strong case against him.

She postponed the bail issue to the 19th June, when Panayiotou will make his first court appearance with two other accused - the alleged middleman, Luthando Siyoni, and the alleged hitman, Sizwezakhe Vumazonke.

Magistrate Beeton did acknowledge that it might be a year before Panayiotou stands trial and all the while he will be behind bars.

Panayiotou's defence attorney, Alwyn Griebenow, said they were studying the judgement and would decide on a way forward from there.