‘Cock­tail of lies’ twist in Jayde case

Mid­dle­man Siy­oni and girl­friend Break­fast may yet face charges

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - FRONT PAGE - Kathryn Kim­ber­ley kim­ber­leyk@ti­soblack­star.co.za

THE Jayde Panayioutou con­tract killing and sub­se­quent con­vic­tion of her hus­band and two oth­ers could take an­other dra­matic twist, with the pos­si­bil­ity of a fur­ther two peo­ple stand­ing trial for com­plic­ity in her mur­der.

The man in­ti­mately in­volved in securing an as­sas­sin for wife killer Christo­pher Panayiotou was found to be a liar and a per­jurer who most likely ac­cepted a bribe to change his tes­ti­mony in court.

Judge Day­alin Chetty’s tongue-lash­ing when de­liv­er­ing judg­ment in the case this week sealed mid­dle­man Luthando Siy­oni’s fate, with it quickly be­com­ing clear that he would more than likely have his Sec­tion 204 sta­tus re­voked and face stand­ing trial for mur­der.

The judge laid into the mid­dle­man’s con­duct on the stand as he con­victed Panayiotou and his ac­com­plices of mur­der on Thurs­day.

Deputy Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Prose­cu­tions in Port El­iz­a­beth Ad­vo­cate Indra Gober­dan said yesterday they were still in the process of study­ing Chetty’s judg­ment, but that if charged, Siy­oni’s girl­friend, Ba­balwa Break­fast, who was also found to have lied on the stand, would be tried as his co-ac­cused.

Siy­oni, 37, a bouncer at Panayiotou’s In­fin­ity night­club was the first to be ar­rested in con­nec­tion with the April 2015 mur­der of Uiten­hage teacher Jayde, 29, af­ter po­lice re­ceived a tip-off from an in­former.

He quickly con­fessed to his in­volve­ment and the de­tails of the kid­nap­ping and mur­der were con­firmed in state­ments ob­tained from both Siy­oni and Break­fast.

But when trial kicked off last year, he took ev­ery­one in­clud­ing state ad­vo­cate Mar­ius Stander by sur­prise by re­cant­ing on his ver­sion to po­lice.

Siy­oni in­stead de­nied his in­volve­ment in ar­rang­ing the hit­men and claimed he had been tor­tured and forced to im­pli­cate his former boss.

In a mam­moth judg­ment in the Port El­iz­a­beth High Court this week, Chetty con- victed Panayiotou, 31, and hit­man Sinethemba Ne­membe of mur­der, while co-con­spir­a­tor Zolani Sibeko was found guilty of con­spir­acy to com­mit mur­der.

In do­ing so, Chetty was scathing of Siy­oni’s con­duct, as well as that of his at­tor­ney, Zo­lile Ngqeza, who he said had er­ro­neously ad­vised him not to an­swer any in­crim­i­nat­ing ques­tions from the state.

Ngqeza said yesterday that he had not been in­formed judg­ment would take place on Thurs­day and that was why he had not been in court.

Gober­dan, mean­while, ex­plained that Siy­oni and his le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tive would have to at­tend pro­ceed­ings on Novem­ber 17, when Panayiotou and his co-ac­cused are due to be sen­tenced. There­after, Stander will ar­gue whether or not he felt Siy­oni was hon­est and ful­filled his job as a Sec­tion 204 wit­ness by in­crim­i­nat­ing him­self on the stand.

Given the am­bush that was launched on Stander, all in­di­ca­tions are, how­ever, that he will ask for Siy­oni to be tried.

Siy­oni’s at­tor­ney will then

have an op­por­tu­nity to re­spond be­fore Chetty makes a find­ing.

Asked what his stance would be, Ngqeza said: “I must still read Judge Chetty’s judg­ment and I will con­sider my po­si­tion from there.”

If charged, Siy­oni will stand trial afresh in the high court with a new judge as­signed to his case. He would face charges in­clud­ing con­spir­acy to com­mit mur­der, mur­der and de­feat­ing the ends of jus­tice.

The charges carry a pre­scribed min­i­mum sen­tence of life in prison.

Gober­dan said Break­fast would be charged as a con­spir­a­tor af­ter the fact.

While Siy­oni’s con­fes­sion was not ad­mis­si­ble against Panayiotou, Ne­membe and Sibeko, it can now be used against him at trial. Chetty said Stander had been duped into be­liev­ing Siy­oni would tes­tify in con­form­ity with his state­ments.

“Sub­se­quent events soon es­tab­lished the ex­tent of the col­lu­sion not only be­tween him­self, Break­fast and those fam­ily mem­bers called to cor­rob­o­rate his ver­sion, but it more­over com­pels the con­clu­sion that Ngqeza was party to the de­cep­tion prac­tised on the pros­e­cu­tion.”

He said Siy­oni and Break­fast had been “sub­orned” to re­cant their state­ments.

Turn­ing to Siy­oni’s sub­mis­sions that he was tor­tured by po­lice, Chetty said: “It is un­nec­es­sary to de­lin­eate the na­ture and ex­tent of the al­leged bat­ter­ing for the sim­ple rea­son that his ev­i­dence is, upon a holistic ap­praisal, a cock­tail of lies, per­jury and con­trivances de­signed to ad­vance Panayiotou’s de­fence.”

LUTHANDO SIY­ONI

INDRA GOBER­DAN

BA­BALWA BREAK­FAST

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