They've destroyed him and his childrens' lives – Rohde's lawyer

Cape Town – The State illegally arrested murder-accused real estate executive Jason Rohde, has acted in bad faith, and has destroyed him and his childrens' lives, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Addressing the Stellenbosch Magistrate’s Court, Pete Mihalik read out his client’s affidavit to explain how he had been treated.

He said that after Susan Rohde’s death at Spier Estate in Stellenbosch last month, her husband co-operated with the police at all times and flew from Johannesburg to Cape Town three times.

Despite this availability, seven armed men arrived at his home early on Tuesday morning and traumatised his three minor daughters by "dragging him out bed" to drive him to Cape Town, Mihalik said.

His teenage daughters would have been left alone had it not been for the presence of his elderly parents, who were visiting.

Warrant

Rohde, CEO of Geffen International Realty Franchises, said in his affidavit that the detective in charge was evasive and did not have a warrant of arrest.

The detective presented a letter from a deputy director of public prosecutions, saying he should be arrested.

"This was highly unnecessary and not in line with the principles of justice."

Rohde said it was a violation of his constitutional rights and a contravention of the police’s standing orders.

Police were in possession of his passports, his laptop, and passwords for the laptop, and his wife’s phone.

He also willingly submitted himself for a DNA swab and a check for injuries.

"I had no injuries, apart from a small cut on my finger which happened on the Tuesday in front of my children."

Arrested without warning

Rohde said he was told the investigation was three months from completion.

While there was agreement that he would willingly hand himself over, he was arrested without warning, and illegally, he said.

Wearing a sports jacket and jeans in court in Thursday, he stared straight ahead with little expression on his face.

The State requested a seven-day postponement for his bail application, but this was opposed by the defence.

An indignant Mihalik replied: "Now they stand up and say they need time. Don’t they know why he’s here?"

Susan, 47, was found dead at the Spier Wine Estate on July 24. Sotheby’s had hosted its annual conference at the venue for the weekend.

She was found in the bathroom, reportedly with a cord around her neck.

Police initially opened an inquest docket for an apparent suicide, but changed it to a murder investigation after the post-mortem results.

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