Wife killer Panayiotou loses appeal bid

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

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

Convicted wife killer Christopher Panayiotou’s application for leave to appeal his murder conviction was dismissed in the Port Elizabeth High Court on Thursday.

The court heard on Wednesday that what was said in the undercover police sting operation that implicated Panayiotou should not have been used against him.

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

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

Price, who had 30 minutes to state his case, said 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 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 the k-word.

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

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

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.

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