Panayiotou “middleman” refuses to answer questions on the stand

Luthando Siyoni  File picture: Eugene Coetzee
Luthando Siyoni
File picture: Eugene Coetzee

The state’s Section 204 witness has once again changed his tune – this time refusing to answer any questions put to him by the prosecution for fear of incriminating himself.

After getting off to a late start in the Port Elizabeth High Court on Wednesday morning, Luthando Siyoni, 36, finally took to the stand, telling state advocate Marius Stander that he would “not answer to any lies”.

Siyoni, who worked for murder accused Christopher Panayiotou, 30, as a bouncer at his Algoa Park night club, made a statement in terms of Section 204 of the Criminal Procedure Act, in which he detailed his alleged involvement in Jayde Panayiotou’s murder.

The job of a Section 204 witness, in exchange for immunity from prosecution, is to incriminate himself in the offence.

Siyoni told police at the time that Panayiotou approached him towards the end of 2014 to ask him to arrange a hitman to kill his wife, Jayde, 29.

His statement, taken down by investigating officer Captain Kanna Swanepoel shortly after his arrest on April 27 last year, was signed by his Legal Aid SA appointed representative, advocate Johan van der Spuy.

On Wednesday morning, however, after alleging that Van der Spuy was not actually present when the statement was taken and merely signed it afterwards to appease the court, Siyoni said he would not answer any questions put to him by the state.

Jayde was murdered after she was kidnapped from outside her Kabega Park home while waiting for a lift to work on April 21 last year.

Panayiotou, Sizwezakhe Vumazonke, 36, Sinethemba Nemembe, 28, and Zolani Sibeko, 35, all pleaded not guilty to the kidnapping, robbery and murder. Vumazonke has since died.

Siyoni returns to the stand on Wednesday afternoon.

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