Killer Panayiotou launches appeal
THE undercover sting operation in which convicted killer Christopher Panayiotou was implicated in the murder of his wife, Jayde, should not have been used against him.
This was argued by defence advocate Terry Price, who was applying for leave to appeal against Panayiotou’s conviction in the Port Elizabeth High Court yesterday. Panayiotou was found guilty of the 2015 murder of his wife in November last year.
The court had relied on information provided from the sting operation to convict Panayiotou.
In the operation, a conversation Panayiotou had with a so-called middleman in the crime, Luthando Siyoni, had been recorded. In it Siyoni had implicated Panayiotou in Jayde’s murder.
But Price argued yesterday before Judge Dayalin Chetty that what Siyoni said to the businessman in the car was inadmissible. “Your lordship found that Mr Siyoni was not an accused person but a witness.
“Mr Siyoni was an accused, an accomplice and that evidence could not be used against another accused (Panayiotou).” Referring to case law, Price argued that a Section 204 witness was an accused. Therefore, the video evidence was not permissible against the businessman. “With respect, your lordship must grant leave to appeal on that basis alone.”
Price argued that Judge Chetty did not once in his judgment mention that search warrants were not obtained when police searched Siyoni’s house and his girlfriend Babalwa Breakfast’s house.
If a search was conducted without a warrant, that evidence became inadmissible, he said.
Price said Siyoni told three police officers that he was assaulted during detention, but his claims were not once followed up.
Judge Chetty had also found Warrant Officer Leon Eksteen an outstanding witness but did not mention in his judgment how Eksteen was heard on tape calling Siyoni the K-word, Price said.
Investigating Officer Captain Kanna Swanepoel used undue influence and told Siyoni to implicate Panayiotou, he added.
“All the fingers point to assault from the word go,” Price said.
“There is enough here for another court to come to a different conclusion. I’m going to ask your lordship to grant us leave to the Supreme Court of Appeal.”
State advocate Marius Stander opposed the application, saying Price was incorrect in applying the test. “Another court might come to a different conclusion – that is not the test. The test is if there is a realistic chance that the application may succeed,” said Stander.
Attorney Peter Daubermann sought leave to appeal against Sinethemba Nenembe’s conviction and Zolani Sibeko’s conviction and sentence.
Panayiotou is serving a life sentence for the murder.
Nenembe was found guilty of murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances while Sibeko was found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder, in connection with Jayde’s murder.
Judge Chetty sentenced Nenembe to life imprisonment for murder and 15 years for robbery. Sibeko was jailed for 15 years on conspiracy to commit murder.
Judgment is expected to be handed down today. – African News Agency (ANA)
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