Jason Rohde’s legal team expected to call more forensic pathologists to testify

2018-06-21 18:46
Jason Rohde in the Cape High Court on Thursday. (Adrian de Kock, Netwerk24)

Jason Rohde in the Cape High Court on Thursday. (Adrian de Kock, Netwerk24)

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Two more forensic pathologists are expected to testify on behalf of murder-accused businessman Jason Rohde, the Western Cape High Court heard on Thursday.

Rohde's advocate Graham van der Spuy, revealed his intention to call the witnesses after defence forensic pathologist, Dr Reggie Perumal, was excused from the stand following a few days of cross-examination and final re-examination.

Perumal had concluded his testimony on Thursday by saying that he still regarded suicide by hanging as the most probable cause of death for Susan Rohde but that he could not exclude other possibilities, such as manual strangulation.

Rohde has pleaded not guilty to killing Susan, who was his wife, and to staging her suicide at Spier Hotel in Stellenbosch on July 24, 2016.

READ: Rohde case: Defence pathologist says it's possible Susan's body was dragged to bathroom

He maintains that they argued about his affair the night before and he found her hanging on the back of the bathroom door the next morning.

The State maintains he smothered and strangled her before dragging her body to the bathroom and using an electric cord to hang her from a hook on the back of the door. 

Van der Spuy said prosecutor Louis van Nierkerk had put it to Rohde on the stand that "in order to quieten his wife down and to shut her up, he smothered her to death".

Perumal said he had found no evidence to support the possibility of smothering.

The trial finished for the day with the defence wanting to demonstrate how the hotel gown would have fitted Susan.

Van der Spuy used Rohde’s mother to show what the gown looked like on someone who had a similar weight and height to Susan.

Van der Spuy said the next defence witness, a forensic pathologist, was expected to take the stand on Monday.

Dr Izak Loftus from Somerset West, is a specialist forensic pathologist and histopathologist, someone who examines biological tissue under a microscope to diagnose and evaluate disease.

Loftus had attended Rohde's trial for the last few weeks and often sat next to Van der Spuy.

Loftus was listed as the director for Africa on the board of the World Association of Societies of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine (Waspalm).

ALSO READ: Defence pathologist agrees Susan Rohde's neck injuries could have been caused by throttling, manual strangulation

According to his CV on Waspalm website, he has been practising since 1994 and has a special interest in cardiorespiratory pathology, neuropathology and molecular medicine. 

Van der Spuy said Loftus had initially only been free to testify this week but had since cleared his schedule for next week.

Van der Spuy mentioned that his other witness was forensic pathologist, Professor Gert Saayman, whom he anticipated would only be called in the court's third term in August.

Saayman conducted the autopsy on Reeva Steenkamp and testified during Oscar Pistorius' trial.

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Read more on:    jason rohde  |  susan rohde  |  cape town  |  courts  |  crime

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