Panayiotou’s lawyer on offensive

Advocate Terry Price and investigating officer Captain Swanepoel
Picture: Eugene Coetzee

Defence claims state has still not proved a motive for Jayde’s murder

A lawyer for Christopher Panayiotou said the state was yet to prove a motive as to why the Port Elizabeth businessman would order a hit on his wife.

Accusing the state of misleading the bail court, defence advocate Terry Price SC said much of what was claimed in opposing the murder accused’s bid for freedom had never materialised.

Price said investigating officer Captain Kanna Swanepoel and prosecutor Marius Stander had made the allegations against his client without first obtaining any of the so-called evidence under oath.

This included claims that Panayiotou took out a hit on Jayde because he could not afford the financial demands of a wife as well as his mistress, Chanelle Coutts.

In addition, the prosecution claimed at the time that Panayiotou was cash-strapped, that Jayde had forced him to buy an expensive house and that his dad, Costa, had threatened to disinherit him should he divorce her.

Swanepoel spent his third day on the stand in the Port Elizabeth High Court yesterday, where Panayiotou, 30, stands accused of the murder of Jayde, 29, alongside Sinethemba Nemembe and Zolani Sibeko.

While Stander indicated that he was now ready to close his case in the trial-within-a-trial – called to test the admissibility of a sting recording in which Panayiotou allegedly implicates himself – the defence said they had a string of witnesses they intended on calling.

Price said some witnesses were civil servants and he would need to obtain subpoenas for them to be at court.

Price said Swanepoel had earlier told a court that Panayiotou had deleted Facebook messages between himself and self-confessed “middleman” Luthando Siyoni which related to the murder.

Admitting yesterday that the alleged hit was not actually discussed between the two in the messages retrieved by the state, Swanepoel said Panayiotou did in fact delete all his messages.

Earlier yesterday, magistrate Lionel Alexander said he visited Siyoni – who has since recanted on his confession – while in protective custody and he never made mention of an assault or any injuries sustained.

Alexander said Siyoni’s complaints mainly related to the food situation at the Humewood Police Station.

The trial continues today.

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