Defence to dispute admissibility of secret recording

An undercover video recording of alleged middleman Luthando Siyoni speaking to murder accused Christopher Panayiotou following the killing of his wife, Jayde, last year, will become the subject of a trial-within-a-trial today.

The defence will argue for the recording between the men – done during a sting on April 29 last year – to be ruled inadmissible, while the prosecution hopes to have it placed before the Port Elizabeth High Court in an attempt to prove its case.

The state alleges Panayiotou, 30, implicated himself in Jayde’s kidnapping and murder while chatting to Siyoni, 37, who had confessed to his alleged involvement in the hit.

Panayiotou was arrested later that night and has been in custody since.

A transcript of the video recording was submitted to the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court by state advocate Marius Stander in May last year to oppose the businessman’s bail application.

According to the transcript, at one point Panayiotou allegedly turned around in the vehicle he and Siyoni were seated in to search him for a wire.

The court has since heard that the recording device was fitted to the police vehicle.

Panayiotou allegedly told Siyoni: “It became a kidnapping and a murder instead of just making it a robbery outside the house.”

He allegedly encouraged Siyoni to go into hiding and to get rid of his phone and SIM card so that police could not trace it.

The state claims Siyoni organised hitmen to kidnap and kill Jayde, 29, at the behest of Panayiotou.

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