JOHANNESBURG – Lawyers of murder accused Christopher Panayiotou, will approach the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court to appeal a no bail ruling.

Panayiotou’s defence team will on Monday argue in the Eastern Cape High Court that Magistrate Abigail Beeton was wrong in refusing him bail, and relied on untested claims by the state to make her decision.

He stands accused of plotting his wife Jayde’s murder – allegedly because he couldn’t afford the expense of having both a wife and a mistress.

Panayiotou has told the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court that he’d been involved in a relationship with his mistress for three years – starting the affair a year before he married his wife, Jayde.

But he insists he loved Jayde, a 28-year-old teacher, and had no motive to kill her.

He has strongly denied the state’s claim that he is in financial trouble, and portrays himself as a successful businessman with strong family links in PE.

This hasn’t convinced Magistrate Beeton, who’s found that Panayiotou is in debt, and that he’d been dishonest about having applied for a Cypriot passport.

She’s found him to be a flight risk, who faces a strong case from the state that he planned his wife’s murder for months, before allegedly paying R70,000 to have her shot.

Crucial to the state’s case is a recording of Panayiotou meeting with the alleged middleman after the murder – and complaining that she wasn’t robbed outside the couple’s house, and her watch wasn’t taken.

The defence is expected to try and poke holes in the state’s claims about the motive for Jayde Panayiotou’s murder, and question what Panayiotou’s mistress and her friend have told the police.

Jayde Panayiotou’s family – who raised their hands in salute when her husband was refused bail – are expected to attend his bail appeal.

– eNCA