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Panayiotou and co-accused again expected in PE High Court

Sep 26, 2017
Panayiotou and co-accused again expected in PE High Court

Update: Proceedings were postponed in the Port Elizabeth High Court on Tuesday, at Defence Advocate, Terry Price's request. He told the court that the Defence was having trouble contacting their cellphone expert, Wilma Van der Bergh, who was due to come in as a witness. She will longer be called as a witness for the defence.

The trial will resume again on Wednesday morning.


 

The murder trial of disgraced Port Elizabeth businessman, Christopher Panayiotou, and his alleged accomplices, Sinethemba Nenembe and Zolani Sibeko, is expected to resume on Tuesday in the Port Elizabeth High Court.

Panayiotou is accused of orchestrating the faked kidnapping and murder of his wife, Jayde, in April 2015 with the help of Nenembe and Sibeko.

She was reportedly abducted outside the couple's Kabega Park home in Port Elizabeth while waiting for her lift from a friend and her body was later found outside Kwanobuhle, Uitenhage, the following day.

The alleged hitman, Sizwezakhe Vumazonke, died in police custody at the St Ablans Correctional Facility last year after a short illness.

During the trial, which began last year, the State has sought to prove that Panayiotou ordered Jayde's murder. It is the State's argument that one possible motive was that he was having an affair with his employee, Chanelle Coutts.

Several witnesses were brought to testify to this.

It is also the State's case that cellphone data and plotting, shows that Nenembe and Sibeko were in contact with Vumazonke during the planning stages of the kidnapping and murder of Jayde as well as being present when she was snatched while waiting for a lift outside the Panayiotous' Kabega Park residence on that fateful morning.

However, Defence Advocate Peter Daubermann argued that the way the cellphone records of his clients were accessed was illegal. 

He then went on to criticize the cellphone evidence and claims that the cellphone data experts that were brought in by the State contradicted themselves and did not provide a shred of proof to link Nenembe or Sibeko to the crime.

Daubermann said expert, Thereza Botha, is not an expert in any field and no weight can be placed in her opinion on the sequence of events the state has hypothesised.

Still, a secret video emerged in June in which shows Panayiotou chatting to self-confessed middleman, Luthando Siyoni, about what seems to be the murder of Jade. Panayiotou tells Siyoni it was meant to look like a robbery and instructs him to disappear for a while until things die down.