News 19.6.2017 07:43 pm

#PanayiotouTrial – Authenticity of cell phone plotting evidence questioned

Murder accused Christopher Panayiotou appears before the Port Elizabeth High Court. Picture: ANA

Murder accused Christopher Panayiotou appears before the Port Elizabeth High Court. Picture: ANA

A witness has testified that cellphone data billing captured by the service provider was 99.9% accurate.

The defence lawyer representing two men who were alleged accomplices in Jayde Panayiotou’s murder tore into the authenticity of cell phone plotting evidence presented before the Port Elizabeth High Court on Monday.

Attorney Peter Daubermann, for Zolani Sibeko and Sinethemba Nenembe, criticised forensic liaison manager from Vodacom, Johanna Heyneke, on her credentials as well as how she verified the various cell phone data.

“So you believe it’s correct because Vodacom told you that it’s correct?” Daubermann asked.

“Your evidence is not in your personal knowledge, you relying on what someone else has said.”

However, Heyneke said she had made it clear from the start that she had obtained the information from Vodacom.

Daubermann went on further about specific equipment used for the cell phone tower-base stations. He wanted manuals on the hardware used.

He insisted that his clients needed to verify if the data before court was in fact accurate, however, Heyneke was sceptical on how access to these manuals would assist him.

Cell phone billing for various cell phone numbers were released to the state subsequent to a court order last year.

According to the State, cell phone plotting showed Sibeko was with alleged shooter Sizwezakhe Vumazonke and Nenembe outside Jayde Panayiotou’s Stelen Glen complex in Kabega just five days before she was abducted, forced into the boot of a vehicle and then taken to a remote area behind Kwanobhule, and murdered.

Vumazonke has since died.

Jayde’s husband , Christopher, 29, the alleged mastermind behind the crime, was arrested shortly after her murder during April 2015.

Heyneke was tasked by the State to plot cell phone towers in several areas as well as provide cell phone data to the State.

Heyneke testified that cell phone billing obtained showed detailed history of a specific SIM card, which included, incoming and outgoing calls, text messages as well as information on data activities such a Facebook and email.

She had earlier detailed a cell phone billing document — but it was unclear if the billing belonged to Panayiotou, Nenembe or Sibeko.

Heyneke had also earlier told the court that the cell phone billing data was 99.9 percent accurate unless a tower was struck by lightning.

Daubermann has asked for time to consult with cell phone experts.

The trial continues on Tuesday.

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