Port Elizabeth – There was a huge outpouring of relief in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court on Friday as murder-accused Christopher Panayiotou was denied bail and told to go back to prison to wait to be tried for the murder of his wife Jayde. (Scroll down for Twitteractions)
“The court’s finding is that the applicant has failed to show exceptional circumstances. Bail is refused,” said Magistrate Abigail Beeton.
Panayiotou dropped his head as the ruling was read out.
Jayde’s sister Toni started crying and mouthed a silent “thank you” to the investigating officer, Kanna Swanepoel, who had also brought in Thando Siyoli, 31, and Sizwezakhe Vumazonke, 30, for the school teacher’s murder.
Beeton considered the murder a Schedule 6 offence, which made it harder for Panayiotou to get bail.
Reasons to be provided
She said she would provide reasons for her decision on June 12, the next time Panayiotou will be brought to court. She anticipated that there could be an application for leave to appeal her decision.
Jayde disappeared on April 21 after last being seen outside her home waiting for a lift to the school where she taught. Her body was later found, and her husband was arrested on April 29 for her murder.
He faces charges of conspiracy to commit murder, murder‚ kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances and defeating the ends of justice.
Siyoli has turned State witness and may get immunity. Vumazonke’s lawyer was present for the bail decision on Friday.
Siyoli and Vumazonke will appear again on June 19.
The court had been so full for the bail judgment that there was hardly any place left for the Panayiotou family to sit.
It was also the first day that Jayde’s father, Derick Inggs was in court. He sat next to his daughter Toni and comforted her as she cried.
Defence pushed hard for bail
The Panayiotous left quickly after the ruling.
Beeton said it was unusual to wait to provide reasons but she decided on this approach as there had already been many delays and bail, by its nature, was an urgent application.
Panayiotou’s application has dragged on for more than a month.
His lawyer Terry Price had pushed hard for his release ahead of his trial, saying conditions at St Alban’s prison were inhumane.
He rubbished the possible motive that his client was cash-strapped and would have been disinherited if he had carried on seeing his girlfriend Chanelle Coutts.
Coutts is expected to be a witness in the case.
Derrick Spies, News24 correspondent, and Jenni Evans, News24
— eNCA (@enca) June 5, 2015
— EWN Reporter (@ewnreporter) June 5, 2015
— Lerato Thipa (@LThipa) June 5, 2015
#ChristopherPanayiotou was so confident that, like his role model Oscar Pistorius, he would get bail. Hahaha! In your face psycho!
— Shero (@TheeShero) June 5, 2015
If what has been presented as evidence & likely arguments thus far anything to go by, then #ChristopherPanayiotou is set for hard times!
— Sihle Ngobese (@SihleDLK) June 5, 2015