Port Elizabeth – The lawyer for the suspected middleman in Jayde Panayioutou’s murder destroyed evidence about his client’s alleged torture, the High Court in Port Elizabeth heard on Friday.
“That must have come as a shock, that your attorney would delete something without your permission?” murder accused Christopher Panayiotou’s lawyer, Terry Price, asked Luthando Siyoni during cross-examination.
“Yes, I was confused by what was happening,” Siyoni replied.
Panayiotou is on trial on a charge of killing his schoolteacher wife Jayde on April 21 last year. His co-accused are Sinethemba Nenembe, and Zolani Sibeko. The three face charges of conspiring, kidnapping, robbing, and killing Jayde.
Siyoni allegedly hired the hitman, Sizwezakhe Vumazonke, and turned State witness after his arrest. He worked as a bouncer at Panayiotou’s Infinity Cocktail Bar in Algoa Park. Vumazonke died in a Port Elizabeth hospital in September.
Price told the court how Siyoni commissioned the services of attorney Ryno Scholtz earlier in the year.
Siyoni said Scholtz recorded the conversations they had during their two meetings on a Dictaphone.
Price said Scholtz went to see prosecutor Marius Stander. He returned to see Siyoni in the holding cells at the Humewood police station later. He had a file and the Dictaphone and was accompanied by the investigating officer, Kanna Swanepoel.
The file contained details of how police allegedly assaulted Siyoni after his arrest.
Siyoni said Scholtz gave him the file and told him he could destroy it.
Price asked Siyoni if Scholtz still had the audio recordings on the Dictaphone. Siyoni said he had deleted them without his permission.
Scholtz told him he did not want to have any problems with Stander or Swanepoel, as they were colleagues.
“When he gave me the documents, I saw he was scared,” said Siyoni.
Siyoni said he did not know why he would want to destroy the file and its contents, but after he took the file, Scholtz left.
Siyoni said he did not destroy the file. It was shared with both the defence and the State before the trial.