Judge refuses Panayiotou's request for access to witness statements


Christopher Panayiotou appears in the Port Elizabeth Magistrates' Court for his bail hearing on May 20, 2015 in Port Elizabeth.

GRAHAMSTOWN – Judge Glen Goosen refused Christopher Panayiotou’s request for access to statements obtained by the state at his bail appeal hearing on Monday.

Panayiotou stands accused of plotting his wife Jayde’s murder -- allegedly because he couldn&39;t afford the expense of having both a wife and a mistress.

The 29-year-old was murdered on April 21 after she was kidnapped outside her Port Elizabeth home. Her body was found dumped later in KwaNobuhle, outside Uitenhage.

Panayiotou was charged with conspiracy to commit murder and defeating the ends of justice.

Defence Advocate Mike Hellens representing Panayiotou argued strongly for access to statements from witnesses obtained by the state.

Goosen heard Panayiotou’s appeal for bail at the High Court in Grahamstown on Monday morning.

The middleman
The State alleges that Panyiotou told Thando Siyoli, a bouncer at his club, to organise the hit on his wife.

Hellens applied access to pictures of Siyoli&39;s arrest, and the occurrence book documenting his arrest  arguing that his "confession" was obtained under duress.

"Clearly something untoward happened," he said.

The alleged hitman, Sizwe Vumazonke, reportedly hired by Siyoli, claimed he&39;d been beaten by police.

Police officials said he&39;d hurt himself while running away

The mistress

The defence also requested access to statements from Panayiotou’s mistress and her friend.

This will form part of the defence’s attack on the state’s claims that Panayiotou couldn’t two women.

“Why are you only applying for these statements now? It was clear they were important in bail application,” asked Goosen.

Prosecutor Marius Stander also described the defence’s request for statements as a “fishing expedition”.

Hellens argued that Panayiotou should get bail as he gets very little time outside.