Christopher Panayiotou tried again to get bail for the murder of his wife Jayde in an appeal to the Grahamstown High Court on Monday.
With a new lawyer, Mike Hellens SC, proceedings started with prosecutor Marius Stander questioning the court’s jurisdiction, saying it should have been heard at the High Court in Port Elizabeth. Judge Glen Goosen ruled that the court did have jurisdiction in the matter.
Panayiotou’s previous failed bail application was heard in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court.
Hellens, who last week spent time at a Judicial Services Commission panel grilling candidates to serve on the Constitutional Court, was assisted by Panayiotou’s advocate Terry Price, and attorney Alwyn Griebenow.
Panayiotou and Jayde’s family were in court, with Jayde’s family and friends wearing black and yellow t-shirts bearing the slogans: “Hope is the only thing Stronger than Fear” and “#justiceforJAYDE”.
‘Justice for Jayde’ protesters
Panayiotou himself was at Port Elizabeth’s St Alban’s prison and not in court. He has previously cited the appalling conditions as a reason why he should be released on bail, but Magistrate Abigail Beeton rejected his reasons and he has now spent at least 82 days behind bars since his arrest.
Members of the Democratic Alliance Woman’s Network had also gathered outside the court holding “Justice for Jayde” posters.
Panayiotou, 28, faces a range of charges which include conspiring to have his wife, Jayde, 29, murdered.
He allegedly hired Luthando Siyoli, 31, a bouncer in his employ at the Infinity club in Algoa Park, Port Elizabeth, to find a hitman, Sizwezakhe Vumazonke, 30, to kidnap and murder her.
Jayde was kidnapped on April 21 while waiting outside her complex in Kabeka Park for her lift to Riebeek College Girls’ High School in Uitenhage, where she worked as a teacher. Her body was found near KwaNobuhle, Uitenhage, the next day.
On June 5, the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court denied Panayiotou bail. Beeton said the State’s case was “reasonably strong” and “decisive”.
Defence to argue co-accused was assaulted by police
Hellens kicked off by focusing on Siyoli, saying when he was arrested at the Infinity Club, a photograph showed he had no visible injuries. But the Fort Beaufort incident log book recorded at the time Siyoli was admitted, he had a swollen left eye and that it was indicated as an injury during arrest.
But Goosen said the images submitted were blurry.
Hellens said he was not sure whether Siyoli was a State witness, and submitted that the swollen eye might indicate that he made his statement under duress. If that was the case, then the “confession” he made was inadmissible.
The application continues.
Derrick Spies, News24 correspondent and Jenni Evans
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