Murder accused Christopher Panayiotou to remain behind bars

African News Agency (ANA)

Murder accused Christopher Panayiotou to remain behind bars
Christopher Panayiotou in court. Photo:

Murder accused Christopher Panayiotou will remain behind bars after Magistrate Abigail Beeton ruled his defence team presented the court with no new facts to warrant a new bail application going forward.

In handing down her judgement in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court on Friday, Beeton said Panayiotou had failed to raise exceptional circumstances to warrant his release on bail.

Quoting case law, Beeton said the court had to be satisfied that new facts were relevant and that old evidence was not reshuffled.

She said that it was not her duty to make a finding on the defence’s argument that the State’s case against Panayiotou was weak.

Beeton added that it was up to the trial court to make decisions on questions of credibility of evidence and whether section 204 witness Luthando Siyoni was adequately represented at the time of his arrest.

She said it was also up to the trial judge to determine if the State misled the court as the defence had claimed on several occasions.

“Only a trial judge can decide on admissibility of evidence and the reliability of a witness..if Siyoni’s evidence was unlawfully obtained it’s for the trial judge to determine,” said Beeton.

Panayiotou is accused of masterminding the murder and abduction of his school teacher wife, Jayde, in April last year.

It is alleged that he paid a bouncer at his Infinity night club, Luthando Siyoni, to hire hitman Sizwezakhe Vumazonke to kidnap and murder his wife.

The state alleged that Sinethemba Nenembe assisted Vumazonke to kidnap and kill Jayde at the behest of her husband.

He has been imprisoned at the St Albans prison for over year since.

Meanwhile, Jayde’s sister, Toni Inggs, expressed relief after Beeton’s ruling.

“We just really happy, we didn’t no which way it was going to go, so we just happy that it’s gone in this direction,” said Inggs.

There were emotional scenes in court with the Inggs family embracing ‘Justice For Jayde’ supporters who attended proceedings, while the Panayiotou’s relatives sat in court stone-faced.

The trial is expected to get underway at the Port Elizabeth High Court on October 10.

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SOURCEAfrican News Agency (ANA)