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Panayiotou trial: State expected to oppose acquittal of Nenembe and Sibeko

Jun 30, 2017
Panayiotou trial: State expected to oppose acquittal of Nenembe and Sibeko

The murder trial of disgraced Port Elizabeth businessman, Christopher Panayiotou, and his alleged accomplices, Sinethemba Nenembe and Zolani Sibeko, will resume on Friday with the State expected to respond to an application by Defence Advocate Peter Daubermann that the Port Elizabeth High Court acquits his clients due to a lack of evidence.

Panayiotou is accused of orchestrating the kidnapping and murder of his wife Jayde in April 2015 with the help of Nenembe and Sibeko. The alleged hitman, Sizwezakhe Vumazonke, died in police custody at the St Ablans Correctional Facility last year after a short illness.

Things took an interesting turn on Thursday when Advocate Daubermann, who is representing Nenembe and Sibeko, brought forth an application in terms of Section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Act (CPA) for the dismissal of charges against his clients due to what he called a lack of evidence against them.

Daubermann told the court that the State does not have sufficient evidence to convict his clients and that the State is merely relying on speculation for their case.

It is 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.

Daubermann also argues 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 themsleves 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.

Once Daubermann stepped down, State Prosecutor, Marious Stander, told the court that Daubermann had raised a few points in his argument that he would like to prepare for, and asked for an adjournment until Friday to oppose the 174 application.