PORT ELIZABETH – The state is expected to call 48 witnesses in the trial of murder accused Port Elizabeth businesman Christopher Panayiotou.
This emerged in court documents which became public on Monday.
Just more than a year since the murder of Jayde Panayiotou, the case against her husband Christopher and his two co-accused, Sizwezakhe Vumazonke and Sinethemba Nenembe, was this week transferred to the Port Elizabeth High court.
A pre-trial conference will take place on July 26.
Panayiotou is accused of orchestrating the murder of his wife‚ Jayde, which took place during April last year. It is alleged he paid a bouncer at his Infinity night club‚ Luthando Siyoli, to hire hitman Vumazonke to kidnap and murder Jayde.
The state alleges that Nenembe assisted the alleged hitman Vumazonke to kidnap and kill Jayde at the behest of her husband.
The indictment reveals, that Jayde’s mother Michelle, her father Derrick and sister Toni are all expected to give evidence in the trial which has been set down for October 3 until December 2 at the Port Elizabeth High court.
Panayiotou’s 26-year old mistress Chanelle Coutts is also expected to testify as a state witness during the trial.
Coutts is being represented by attorney Danie Gouws. According to Gouws his client has not been in contact with Panayiotou since his arrest.
Panayiotou has admitted that he had an intermittent sexual relationship with Coutts, who was a manager at his OK Grocer store. He previously told the court during a bail application that his extra-marital affair had no effect on his two-year marriage.
According to the state, Panayiotou had his wife killed because he could no longer afford to maintain his wife and mistress.The illicit romance reportedly started a year before he married Jayde.
Meanwhile, Panayiotou will apply for bail based on new facts in the Port Elizabeth magistrate’s court on Tuesday. This will be his third attempt at a bid for bail.
Panayiotou has been languishing at St Albans prison since his arrest last year. He was initially denied bail in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court and then again in the Grahamstown High Court when he appealed that decision.
His first attempt for bail was denied by Magistrate Abigail Beeton. In her reasoning, Beeton cited that Panayiotou had an inclination to conceal or destroy evidence.
The charges against the three men include conspiracy to commit murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, kidnapping, murder and unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition.
Panayiotou faces an additional charge of obstructing the course of justice.
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