The best two seconds of her life. That is how Michelle Inngs described the moment when the man accused of masterminding her daughter Jayde Panayiotou’s murder, failed again in his attempt to be released on bail.
Christopher Panayiotou’s family as well as his defence, were notably absent from proceedings on Tuesday when Judge Nomathamsanqa Bheshe dismissed his appeal against his bail being denied.
Panayiotou, 28, stands accused of having orchestrated his wife Jayde’s murder in April.
Speaking to the media briefly afterwards, Inggs said Beshe’s judgment was “the best two seconds of my life”.
Attorney Mark Nettleton received the judgment on instruction from Alwyn Griebenouw, Panayiotou’s lawyer. State prosecutor Marius Standers and investigating officer Kanna Swanepoel were present for the State.
Drawn out bail application
Panayiotou was originally denied bail by Magistrate Abigail Beeton after a drawn out bail application in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court in June.
His defence team, consisting of Griebenouw, Advocate Terry Price SC and Advocate Mike Hellens SC, argued in front of Judge Glen Goosen last week that Beeton had erred in her judgement and that Panayiotou should be granted bail.
The dismissal, which effectively means Panayiotou will remain behind bars until his trial, was met with an outpouring of relief and a round of applause by Jayde’s family and friends, who filled the front two rows of the court wearing black #JusticeForJayde T-shirts.
National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Tsepo Ndwalaza said the State was happy with the outcome of the proceedings, and that they had done enough to prove that Panayiotou should not get bail.
Schedule 6 offence
Goosen’s detailed judgment explained why he had denied Panayiotou’s appeal.
“I am unable to find that the magistrate erred or misdirected herself in relation to those issues [put forward by the defence] and the findings made,” said Goosen in his judgment.
Goosen said Beeton’s judgement contained a full discussion of the nature of the onus which rested upon an accused person charged with a Schedule 6 offence seeking bail.
“It was not argued that the magistrate had erred in relation to the test to be applied. It was however suggested in heads of argument, although not argued before me, that the magistrate had set the bar impossibly high in her application of the test of exceptional circumstances to the facts of the case.
“I do not agree. The test was applied correctly. The magistrate considered all factors which are ordinarily taken into account and those which the appellant has advanced in his application.
“She came to the conclusion on the totality of the evidence that the appellant had not discharged the onus to establish, on a balance of probability, that exceptional circumstances exist, which in the interests of justice, permit the appellant to be released on bail. I am unable to find that the magistrate was wrong in so doing,” Goosen said. News24