Christopher Panayiotou made a first appearance in the Port Elizabeth High Court on Tuesday.
Sporting a fresh new haircut, Panayiotou appeared briefly in court alongside two co-accused, Sizwezakhe Vumazonke and Sinethemba Nenembe.
Panayiotou appeared relaxed and smiled while speaking to his lawyers.
Panayiotou is accused of masterminding the abduction and murder of his schoolteacher wife Jayde in April last year, allegedly because she was a “financial burden”.
The State alleges that he paid a bouncer at his Infinity night club, Luthando Siyoni, to hire hitman Vumazonke to kidnap and kill Jayde.
The State further alleged that Nenembe assisted Vumazonke to carry out the alleged hit.
Siyoni has since become a section 204 witness, which means he is indemnified from prosecution if the court is satisfied at the end of the trial that he testified honestly.
In an already complex case, a fifth suspect, Zolani Sibeko, was arrested earlier this month and has since appeared in the Port Elizabeth Magistrates’ Court for his alleged involvement.
Charges against the accused include conspiracy to commit murder, murder, kidnapping, unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition, and robbery with aggravating circumstances.
Panayiotou faces an additional charge of defeating the ends of justice.
On Tuesday, Judge Dayalin Chetty postponed the matter until August 25 for a pre-trial conference.
The trial is expected to get under way in October.
– African News Agency (ANA)