Spier murder accused's bail application continues

2016-08-26 05:31
Jason Rohde in court (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

Jason Rohde in court (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

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Cape Town - The investigator looking into Susan Rohde’s death at the Spier Wine Estate is expected to testify at the continuation of her husband Jason's bail application in the Stellenbosch Magistrate's Court on Friday.

Jason Rohde made his first appearance in court on Thursday. His wife’s body was found on July 24 in the bathroom of the upmarket suite they were staying in while attending a conference.

She was reportedly found with a cord around her neck. Initially police opened an inquest docket, which is customary for a suspected suicide.  

Rohde, the CEO of Geffen International Realty Franchises, was arrested on a murder charge on Tuesday.

His lawyer Pete Mihalik tried to convince the court on Thursday that the offence he was accused of was a Schedule 5 offence under the Criminal Procedure Act. This meant he did not have to provide exceptional circumstances to justify being released on bail.

Mihalik said to categorise it as a more serious Schedule 6 crime, the State had to have evidence of premeditation. It had not yet provided any evidence.

In his statement to the court, Rohde said he intended pleading not guilty, and had co-operated with police from the start. The UK-born Rohde was a South African citizen and the passports of both these countries had expired. He also had an Australian passport from a brief period of emigration, which was valid until 2017.

He said his wife had an insurance policy which specifically disqualified suicide as grounds for a claim.

He listed his income and expenses as a house in Bryanston worth R9.4m, which he and Susan were planning to sell because their oldest daughter would be matriculating soon, and a holiday home in Plettenberg Bay worth R2.2m. He owed R1m on his BMW, and R450 000 on Susan’s Mercedes-Benz.

He earned R110 000 a month as CEO, and another R45 000 for the property company he started, and received dividends of around R180 000 a year. He had a 22% share in a property trust worth around R20m.

He married Susan in 1993. She gave up work for the last three years to look after their 16-year-old twin daughters and their 18-year-old daughter, and to manage their home.

The couple had been going for counselling together and Susan had mentioned a few times that she was feeling suicidal, he said.

Read more on:    cape town  |  crime

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