Port Elizabeth – The Eastern Cape High Court in Port Elizabeth sat briefly on Thursday for the ongoing Panayiotou murder trial to hear evidence on how the Facebook video of an alleged middleman’s account was acquired, before adjourning for the day.
Christopher Panayiotou, Sinethemba Nenembe and Zolani Sibeko are on trial on charges of conspiring, kidnapping, robbing, and killing Panayiotou’s wife, Jayde.
The 29-year-old teacher was abducted outside her home in Kabega Park, Port Elizabeth, while waiting for her lift to Riebeek College Girls High School on Tuesday, April 21. She was found shot dead in a veld outside KwaNobuhle township, Uitenhage, the following day.
The court heard from digital forensic expert Wouter Pretorius, who testified about how he had been contacted by the investigating officer, Captain Kanna Swanepoel, to assist with securing evidence from Facebook.
Pretorius said he had travelled to Port Elizabeth on October 7 last year and had met with alleged middleman, Luthando Siyoni, at the Humewood police cells.
Pretorius said he had asked Siyoni if he understood what was going to be done, and if he had given permission to access his account. He said Siyoni had granted the police permission and had given them the password to access his account.
Pretorius said they had accessed the account on his SAPS-issued computer, and then captured the accessing of the account using a software programme that recorded what happened on the screen.
Under cross-examination, defence for Panayiotou, Advocate Terry Price SC, asked if there had been any audio recorded. Pretorius said no, but Price said there had been and that he would play it back to the court at a later stage.
State prosecutor Marius Stander then asked if the court could adjourn for the day, as the witnesses that he had lined up – including police officers that had been in a car accident with a kudu – were not in a state to testify.
Stander said the State intended to begin with the evidence relating to the recording of the conversation between Siyoni and Panayiotou in a vehicle on April 29, 2015.
The defence team has previously indicated that they will call for a trial within a trial to discuss the admissibility of the evidence.
The trial is scheduled to continue at 09:30 on Friday.