Tue. Sep 22nd, 2020

Panayiotou in ConCourt: Convicted wife killer accuses judge of bias

christopher panayiotouAccording to his defence, the judge did not give him a good trial.

panayiotou in concourt convicted wife killer accuses judge of bias 1024x853 - Panayiotou in ConCourt: Convicted wife killer accuses judge of bias

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Convicted wife-killer, Christopher Panayiotou, will approach the Constitutional Court as a last ditch effort to have his first-degree murder conviction overturned.

As reported by EWN, after multiple failed attempts to have his leave of appeal granted by the Port Elizabeth High Court and the Supreme Court of Appeal, Panayiotou’s defence lawyers, led by Advocate Terry Price, look to the highest court in the land for a chance to prove that the case against his client was botched.

The basis of Christopher Panayiotou murder conviction

Price’s main contention is that the State failed to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that his client was directly responsible for the murder of his wife, Jayde Panayiotou.

Related: Panayiotou’s leave to appeal murder conviction dismissed by High Court

On the morning of 21 April 2015, Jayde was waiting outside of her townhouse complex in Kabega Park, Port Elizabeth, for a lift to Riebeek College Girls High School — she worked there as a teacher — when three armed men kidnapped her.

We would later hear that Sinethemba Nenembe, Zolani Sibeko and Sizwezakhe Vumazonke, were instructed by Panayiotou to disguise the murder of Jayde as an armed robbery.

However, things clearly did not go according to the plan and the trio was forced to execute the 29-year-old after they had kidnapped her.

Panayiotou was charged with the murder after a sting operation uncovered the State’s key witness, Luthando Siyoni, the man who linked the businessman with the hitmen.

The court heard a taped confession from Siyoni, who pointed Panayiotou as the mastermind behind the murder of his wife. Moreover, video footage showing Panayiotou admitting in conversation with Siyoni about the murder was the nail in the coffin.

Related: Cape Town gang violence claims 14 lives in 24 hours

Panayiotou’s defence going into ConCourt

This was enough for High Court Judge Dayalin Chetty to find the businessman guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison.

However, for Panayiotou’s defence, the State’s case was very weak and the judge’s bias clouded his ability to make a more informed decision about the involvement of Jayde’s husband in her murder.

According to the defence, Siyoni’s testimony and evidence should not have been admissible in court. Price claims that Siyoni’s confession and subsequent involvement in the sting operation were coerced.

In the papers Price filed to the Constitutional Court, he accused the police of assaulting Siyoni and forcing him to divulge lies about his client.

Related: “Justice was served” – Victim’s wife reacts to death of Kalvin Periasamy

However, what the defence failed to address was how Panayiotou was not coerced into participating in the recorded conversation he had with Siyoni about how they would get rid of Jayde’s body.

The Constitutional Court will accept both submissions — from the defence and the State — and deliberate on the matter before handing down a judgment.

If this court bid falls through, it will be Panayiotou’s last chance at appealing his sentence.

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