Ricochet News

Panayiotou murder trial resuming following drama on Monday

JUNE 14, 2017
Panayiotou murder trial resuming following drama on Monday

The murder trial of Port Elizabeth businessman, Christopher Panayiotou, and his co-accused Sinethemba Nenembe and Zolani Sibeko, will resume in the Port Elizabeth High Court on Wednesday morning with Judge Dalayin Chetty expected to hear from Defence Advocate, Terry Price, why he should recuse himself from the trial following drama in the courtroom on Monday.

Tensions rose between the Judge and Advocate Price after Judge Chetty had ruled that secret recordings that allegedly implicate Panayiotou in the murder of his teacher wife, Jayde, in April 2015, were admissible in court.

Price then argued that he would be litigating in the dark if he was not allowed time to consult with senior legal counsel on where to go from there. He wanted the trial to be postponed until the 23rd of June.

His request was immediately denied by Judge Chetty, who stated that the trial has until the 30th of June to conclude and that Price should make a formal application at this point if he wants to postpone the trial.

“If this goes the wrong way my client could be spending life in prison,” a seemingly angry Price responded.

Judge Chetty again stated that he would not make any more postponements, which sparked an almost heated argument.

Price claimed that the court was favouring the State and described how all the postponements requested by the State were granted.

He then went on about how, since the beginning, the Defence and their client, Panayiotou, had not been given a fair trial. He said that he was sick of the clapping and cheering coming from the “peanut gallery” and said that Judge Chetty has so far not done anything about it.

Price then told the Judge that he cannot argue his case if he doesn’t know the reason why the evidence is being allowed in court, to which Judge Chetty told him he will provide his reasons at the end of the trial - and reminded Price that he is not obligated to give his reasons in the ‘trial within a trial’.

The Advocate then went on again to say that the Judge has no idea what the Panayiotou trial has put him through, and that he has suffered insults and threats on social media.

The Advocate also claimed that the press have also been mistreating him and his family.

“I am litigating in the dark here, you need to give me time to properly prepare,” appealed Price once more.

Judge Chetty again denied postponement, to which Price stated that he cannot proceed then.

Just as the State called their first witness for the day, Price rose again to ask for a five minute adjournment, stating that he was very close to withdrawing from the case altogether.

When court resumed, Price then made a formal request that Judge Chetty recuses himself from the murder trial on the basis that he has not treated the Defence and Panayiotou fairly during the course of the trial.

Judge Chetty agreed to the request and will hear it on Wednesday morning.

Court adjourned.