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Panayiotou does not intend to stand trial: State

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Christopher Panayiotou’s lawyers did not reveal that the murder accused had dual citizenship because he never intended to stand trial, the Grahamstown High Court heard on Monday.

Had it not been for investigating officer Kanna Swanepoel, the court would have remained ignorant about that fact that Panayiotou had applied for a Cypriot passport, prosecutor Marius Stander told the court.

He was arguing against Panayiotou’s bid to appeal against the decision by Port Elizabeth Magistrate Abigail Beeton, on June 5, to deny him bail.

Stander said Panayiotou’s lawyers had been told he had dual citizenship, but they decided it was not relevant and did not mention it during his bail application.

“Evidence was selectively placed before court to indicate that the appellant [Panayiotou] had nowhere to go. Now we have to ask ourselves: why was it excluded?

“The only inference is that the appellant does not intend to stand trial.”

Responding to arguments that conditions in prison were unsuitable for Panayiotou, Stander said Beeton was not being facetious when she said prison was not a holiday.

He said Panayiotou was used to an above-average standard of living so the conditions would be, relatively speaking, worse for him.

He is being held at St Albans prison in Port Elizabeth.

If Panayiotou could make out a case that he should be released because of poor living conditions in prisons, then the same should apply to the other inmates as well, he said.

Panayiotou, 28, is accused of conspiring to have his wife, Jayde, 29, murdered.

He allegedly hired Luthando Siyoli, 31, a bouncer in his employ at the Infinity club in Algoa Park, Port Elizabeth, to find a hitman, Sizwezakhe Vumazonke, 30, to kidnap and murder her.

Jayde was kidnapped on April 21 while waiting outside her complex in Kabega Park for her lift to Riebeek College Girls’ High School in Uitenhage, where she was a teacher. Her body was found the next day near KwaNobuhle, Uitenhage. News24

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