Port Elizabeth – A woman who has been linked to murder accused Christopher Panayiotou, Chanelle Coutts, may be called to testify for the State in the upcoming trial.
Panayiotou stands accused of conspiring to have his wife, Jayde, murdered and will be appearing in court on Wednesday in connection with his ongoing bail application.
Coutts works as an assistant manageress at the Algoa Park OK Grocer, which is run by Panayiotou and which he has a 10% share in.
Port Elizabeth lawyer Danie Gouws confirmed that he had been assigned to look after the interests of Coutts and that he had been informed that she would be a State witness.
“It really is important to make a distinction here. She is not a section 204 witness, namely a witness who is party to the crime and is turning State witness in exchange for a lesser sentence, but rather that the state prosecutor has indicated that she may be called upon to give testimony during the court case for the State,” he said.
Gouws also indicated that he would be looking at cases of civil defamation for Coutts, following allegations that she was having an affair with Panayiotou.
Gouws said Coutts would not be attending the bail application on Wednesday, but that a representative from his firm would be present to ensure her interests were protected.
In his affidavit read into record last week during his bail application last week, Panayiotou referred to Coutts, in her capacity as an assistant manager at the store, saying she had been forced by circumstance to take leave.
He said Coutts had been forced to undergo strenuous questioning by the police and had been threatened with violence both telephonically and by members of the public coming into the business.
“As a result of these appalling threats by members of the public and the questioning by the police, she has had a breakdown and can no longer be of any assistance to me. This has placed the business in an even more precarious position,” Panayiotou said.
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