Jayde 'middleman' declared a hostile witness
State witness in the Jayde Panayiotou murder trial‚ Luthando Siyoni‚ was declared a hostile witness by the Port Elizabeth High Court on Thursday morning for refusing to answer questions put to him by state advocate Marius Stander.
Siyoni told Stander he had been willing to answer his questions until he began to discredit him in court.
This means it is likely the National Prosecuting Authority will move for Siyoni’s Section 204 status‚ indemnifying him from prosecution‚ to be revoked‚ and for the alleged middleman to be charged with Uitenhage teacher Jayde Panayiotou’s murder.
Siyoni had on Wednesday told Stander that he would not answer any questions pertaining to the statements made to police at the time of his arrest.
On Thursday morning‚ he said he had time to think about it and had elected not to answer any questions “from anyone in this court”.
Judge Dayalin Chetty accordingly declared the 36-year-old bouncer a hostile witness.
It also emerged in court that Siyoni was a demanding witness and while in protective custody expected his food to be prepared a certain way.
But the bouncer’s biggest gripe was that investigating officer Captain Kanna Swanepoel did not visit him often enough at the Humewood police station holding cells.
Responding to laughter in the Port Elizabeth High Court on Thursday morning‚ state advocate Marius Stander said it was surprising how Siyoni‚ 36‚ was most upset that the policeman he now accused of assaulting and threatening him‚ did not visit regularly enough.
Siyoni had listed his gripes with the various Port Elizabeth magistrates who visited him at the holding cells between May last year and October‚ but did not once tell them that he had been assaulted‚ threatened or that his statements were not a true reflection of events.
Instead‚ he complained that:
· He did not get to use the gym;
· His family did not visit frequently;
· He was not allowed to make phone calls;
· He wanted his own cellphone;
· He wanted a radio;
· Coffee was weak;
· Soup was cold; and
· His portions of food were not big enough.
The complaint that appeared almost weekly‚ was that Swanepoel needed to come around more often.
The state alleges Jayde was kidnapped and murdered on April 21 last year at the behest of her husband‚ Christopher Panayiotou. Siyoni allegedly helped Panayiotou‚ 30‚ to recruit hitmen to carry out the plot.
Siyoni returns to the stand on Friday morning.