Port Elizabeth - Christopher Panayiotou’s defence accused the State of “thumb sucking” its case.

As Panayiotou’s bail appliaction proceeded in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, defence advocate Terry Price accused the State of “thumb sucking” their case to create a motive against Panayioitou, who is accused of orchestrating the murder of his school teacher wife, Jayde, in April.

Price made the statement shortly after State advocate Marius Stander told the court he believed that Panayioutou could interfere with State witnesses if he was released on bail.

“The State does not have a strong case against my client. Suggesting that his affair is a motive for murder is laughable. It is pure unadulterated thumb sucking.”

Price said the only contribution that Chanelle Coutts (Panayioutou’s lover) would make to the State’s case would be to come and say they were having an affair.

“When she gets into that witness box I am going to object. Having an affair does not make you a murderer,” said Price.

He further criticised Stander’s comment that his client was cash-strapped and that he could “cook” the books of his various business interests if he was released on bail.

The State’s case is that the accused could not cope financially with the combined demands of his wife and his girlfriend and it was part of the reason he had her killed.

“This is the most laughable. My client is comfortable. I wish I had R3.1 million in assets, I certainly won’t be standing here.

“Why he would cook the books, God only knows. He is not being charged with fraud or extortion,” added Price.

Panayiotou was arrested days after Luthando Siyoli, a bouncer at a nightclub owned by Panayiotou, had been arrested.

A third suspect, Sizwezakhe Vumazonke was arrested later.

It is alleged that Panayiotou paid Siyoli R70 000 for the hit on his wife.

It is claimed Siyoli in turn secured the services of Vumazonke to carry out the job.

All three men have been charged with murder, kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances and conspiracy to commit murder.

Price added that the State’s case relied on Siyoli. He said if that was gone, they would have the rug pulled out from under their case.

ANA