It was touch and go, but the state eventually managed to have the cellphone numbers of alleged hitman Sinethemba Nemembe admitted into evidence on Friday morning when the Port Elizabeth High Court overruled an objection by the defence.
The alternative, as his defence attorney Peter Daubermann put it to the court, would mean the state had nothing implicating Nemembe in the murder of Uitenhage teacher Jayde Panayiotou.
Daubermann had objected to the state leading Captain Stephanus de Bruin on how he obtained two cellphone numbers, allegedly belonging to the 28-year-old murder accused.
He said De Bruin, who was at the time in the process of investigating Nemembe on an unrelated murder charge, claimed to have obtained those numbers from Nemembe’s father.
It was Stander’s aim to use the numbers to place Nemembe at the scene of Jayde’s kidnapping and later, her murder.
Jayde, 29, was abducted and shot dead on April 21 last year, allegedly at the behest of her husband, Christopher Panayiotou, 30.
“The entire state case turns on the cellphone number they claim belonged to Nemembe,” Daubermann said.
“There is no other evidence against him, no witnesses implicating him.”
But Judge Dayalin Chetty told Stander to go ahead and lead his witness because it was in the interest of justice to do so.
The court also heard on Friday how Jayde and her family contributed R350 000 towards the transfer and other costs related to the purchase of their luxury Lovemore Heights home shortly before Jayde’s murder.
Claudia Goosen of Capitec Bank said Panayiotou came to see her on March 13 last year, asking for a loan of between R80 000 and R100 000 needed for fees on the new property.
She said he did not qualify and a few days later Jayde submitted a similar application.
Jayde was approved for a loan of R150 000.
She then paid the money into her husband’s bank account.
The court heard earlier this week how Jayde’s parents, Derrick and Michelle Inggs, had loaned the couple an amount of R200 000 towards the transfer fees and other costs.
The bond was registered in Panayiotou’s name.
The trial was postponed to Tuesday for consultations.