Jason Rohde would have had to be like Hannibal Lecter, if the State's version is true - defence

2018-11-07 19:56
Murder accused Jason Rohde. (Jaco Marais, Gallo Images, Netwerk24, file)

Murder accused Jason Rohde. (Jaco Marais, Gallo Images, Netwerk24, file)

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Jason Rohde would either have to be "Superman" or "Hannibal Lecter" to execute his wife's murder and staged suicide in the manner that the State suggests, his lawyer Graham van der Spuy said on Wednesday.

Delivering his closing argument, he said Rohde should be acquitted of because the evidence "overwhelmingly" pointed to his client's version that he discovered his wife Susan had taken her life in a hotel bathroom in 2016.

Van der Spuy said there was an absence of incriminating evidence that was usually found in murder cases, with the State conceding on Tuesday that there was no single definitive cause of death.

He pointed out that the investigating officer investigated the drains in the hotel bathroom and found nothing untoward. Nothing was found electronically to suggest premeditation.

A doctor who examined Rohde in the wake of his wife's death only found a small cut on his finger, which he said had been caused by a vase the previous week.

"Effectively, Mr Rohde had no injuries whatsoever". 

He found Rohde to be open when testifying.

"It had the ring of truth about it and I found it impressive."

READ: Rohde trial: State pathologist 'let himself down completely', defence argues

Prosecutor Louis van Niekerk had on Tuesday said Rohde's recollection of the couple's last verbal argument was a "carefully crafted choreography", "an extremely controlled version and [he had a] remarkable good recollection of the minute data of the physical altercation with the deceased".

Van der Spuy countered that if a witness was good, they were accused of being choreographed.

"If you make mistakes, you are bad... We expect him to count the number of coils around his wife's neck when he's holding her dead body in his hands," he commented in disbelief.

Van der Spuy referred to how serial killer Hannibal Lecter's pulse rate never changed while eating a victim in the movie The Silence of the Lambs.

"You have got to have a unique personality to do that. It is quite pathological and if we look at the scenario that the State would have us believe, that is almost what they require of the accused," he said.

He questioned the State's assertion that Rohde staged his wife's suicide in a panic and then adjusted the scene after maintenance worker Desmond Daniels left the bathroom.

"Where does he get the time or opportunity to work through this whole thing mentally and then to execute a change in the cord on the back of the door and to execute a dressing of the deceased with a bathrobe and to give CPR?"

READ: Jason Rohde has a habit of lying – State cautions court

He said Rohde would need to be Superman to do that.

He referred to Daniels as an "appallingly poor witness" who repeatedly said he had no comment when he was confronted with questions.

"Where do we start and where do we end believing him?...

"My submission is that the State's case was started through a cacophony of unfortunate inferences and conclusions not properly researched, and here we land up a year later."

Judge Gayaat Salie-Hlophe thanked the parties for their closing arguments and said she would deliver judgment at 10:00 on Thursday.

When she left the courtroom, Rohde lost his composure and sat with his head in his hands, appearing to recover from the news that judgment would be delivered so soon.

Read more on:    jason ­rohde  |  susan rohde  |  courts

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