He is a respected legal mind with more than 17 years on the bench. It, therefore, came as no surprise when Judge Dayalin Chetty was picked as the man who will ultimately decide the fate of murder accused Christopher Panayiotou and his two alleged hitmen.

His no-nonsense attitude and on-point judgments have kept the legal fraternity on their toes for almost two decades as his rulings have survived appeal after appeal.

It has made him one of the most respected presiding officers in the Eastern Cape High Court division.

Chetty, 63, will now make vital decisions in what is expected to be a mammoth eight-week long murder trial.

He became one of the first black advocates to join the Port Elizabeth Bar in 1979, a stint which lasted until 1999, when he landed a permanent spot on the bench of the South Eastern Cape Local High Court division.

Before that, between 1996 and 1998, he held a spot on the bench of the Constitutional Court, and between 2000 and 2001, Chetty acted as a judge in the Supreme Court of Appeal.

He attended the University of Durban-Westville where he obtained his BA in 1975. In 1977, he obtained his law degree.

In 2002, Chetty delivered a landmark judgment in which he found the state liable for damages suffered by Alix Carmichele, a photographer who was attacked in Noetzie by a violent criminal with a history of sexual assault.

Carmichele, represented by Advocate Terry Price, had sued the then-minister of safety and security for negligence for failing to keep the perpetrator in custody pending a rape trial.

Most recently, Chetty convicted three hitmen of murdering a state witness.

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