Panayiotou in bid for leave to appeal his murder conviction

Christopher Panayiotou, Sinethemba Nenembe and Zolani Sibeko. FILE PHOTO: Raahil Sain/ANA

Christopher Panayiotou, Sinethemba Nenembe and Zolani Sibeko. FILE PHOTO: Raahil Sain/ANA

The wife killer’s lawyer believes that testimony that was used to convict him should never have been admitted.

The Port Elizabeth High Court heard on Wednesday that what was said in the undercover police sting operation that implicated wife killer Christopher Panayiotou should not have been used against him.

Panayiotou brought an application for leave to appeal his murder conviction.

Defence advocate Terry Price argued before Judge Dayalin Chetty that Panayiotou was convicted on the basis of what happened in the police undercover sting operation where Luthando Siyoni implicated Panayiotou in his wife Jayde’s 2015 murder.

Price argued that what self-confessed middleman Siyoni said to the businessman in the car was inadmissible.

“Your lordship found that Mr Siyoni was not an accused person and was a witness,” said Price.

“But Mr Siyoni was an accused, an accomplice and that evidence could not be used against another accused [Panayiotou].”

Referring to case law, Price argued that a section 204 witness is an accused, therefore the video evidence was not permissible against the businessman.

“With respect, your lordship must grant leave to appeal on that basis alone,” Price said.

Price, who had 30 minutes to state his case, said that Chetty did not once in his judgment mention that search warrants were not obtained when police searched Siyoni’s house and his girlfriend Babalwa Breakfast’s house.

He argued that if a search was conducted without a warrant, that evidence became inadmissible.

Price said that Siyoni told three police officers he was assaulted during detention, but his claims were not once followed up.

He said that Chetty found Warrant Officer Leon Eksteen an outstanding witness but did not mention in his judgment how Eksteen was heard on tape calling Siyoni a “kaffer”.

Price said that investigating officer Captain Kanna Swanepoel used undue influence and told Siyoni to implicate Panayiotou.

“All the fingers point to assault from the word get go,” Price said.

“I respectfully submit there is enough here for your lordship to say that another court may come to a different conclusion. I’m going to ask your lordship to grant us leave to the Supreme Court of Appeal.”

State advocate Marius Stander, who opposed the application, said Price was incorrect in applying the test.

“Another court might come to a different conclusion — that is not the test. The test is if there is a realistic chance that the application may succeed,” said Stander.

Attorney Peter Daubermann sought leave to appeal Sinethemba Nenembe’s conviction and Zolani Sibeko’s conviction and sentence.

In November last year, Panayiotou was convicted of his wife’s murder and subsequently jailed for life.

Nenembe was found guilty of murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances, while Sibeko was found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder.

Chetty sentenced Nenembe to life imprisonment for murder and 15 years for robbery with aggravating circumstances. Sibeko was jailed for 15 years on conspiracy to commit murder.

Chetty will hand down judgment in the application on Thursday.

– African News Agency (ANA)


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