Organised Crime boss testifies as Panayiotou trial resumes

From left, Lieutenant-Colonel Audrey Till and State Prosecutor Marius Stander at the Port Elizabeth High Court during the Panayiotou Trial.
Picture: Deneesha Pillay

Organised Crime Unit Commander, Lieutenant-Colonel Audrey Till, said she would never have tolerated the use of derogatory language had she heard investigating officers Kanna Swanapoel and Leon Eksteen speak to “middleman” Luthando Siyoni in that manner.

Till was testifying in the Port Elizabeth High Court on Wednesday morning, where Christopher Panayiotou, 30, stands accused of orchestrating his wife, Jayde’s murder.

A trial-within-a-trial was called to determine the admissibility of a secret video recording where Panayiotou allegedly implicated himself.

Till said she was only present “at times” when Swanepoel and Eksteen questioned Siyoni at the unit’s Newton Park offices.

She said Siyoni, who claimed at the time that he helped Panayiotou find hitmen to kidnap and kill Jayde, 29, on April 21 2015, came across as a well-presented man. He impressed her.

Till said further that she had explained the process to Siyoni and he assured her that he understood and was comfortable with assisting the police in their investigation.

Siyoni later recanted on his statements to claim police assaulted and forced him to implicate his former boss.

Till said she never noticed any injuries on him.

Told by Price that a recording made by Eksteen revealed how they had used words such as “po*s” and “F**ker” when speaking to him, Till responded that she did not condone such language.

The matter was postponed to Friday due to the unavailability of a member of the defence.

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