AS IT HAPPENED: Judge: #Rohde left his wife to die - remains in custody until sentencing

2019-02-20 10:14

Property mogul Jason Rohde faces sentencing for the murder of his wife Susan in the Western Cape High Court.

Jason Rhode appears in court.
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Last Updated at 10:43
20 Feb 13:29
Judge Salie Hlophe postpones the sentencing to February 27, where she will deliver her judgment.

20 Feb 13:27

20 Feb 13:22
Prosecutor Louis van Niekerk stands up again to re-emphasises the brutality of the murder to "really ensure she was dead".

20 Feb 13:22
Defence finishes argument. 

20 Feb 13:20

20 Feb 13:15

20 Feb 13:15
Judge Salie-Hlophe says there wasn't a history of physical violence. But violence took shape at the time.

20 Feb 13:12
I am not saying that intimate partner femicide is not a problem. But there are differences between someone who has a violent history with his partner and someone who acts on the spur of the moment - Defence.

20 Feb 13:07

20 Feb 13:03
Judge says that Susan did not die instantly. She suffered.

20 Feb 12:58

The Defence says that for every year Jason is put away, his family will suffer.

Judge Salie-Hlophe points out that ironically, the same applies for the deceased. For every year she is absent, her family suffers.

Defence says this case is "a tragedy from A-Z".


20 Feb 12:54

20 Feb 12:53
The financial implications and the personal and the social implications for the children are going to be adverse and very bad, says Defence.

20 Feb 12:50

20 Feb 12:48

20 Feb 12:45
Van der Spuy says he wasn't part of Jason's team during bail and can't recall the passport issue from the transcript. His understanding was that the passports were volunteered. He adds Jason never tried to skip the country.

20 Feb 12:44

20 Feb 12:41
Van der Spuy: We have a person who was torn between his emotions and his desires on the one hand, and his marriage and children on the other hand. He very dearly loved, and still loves his daughters.

20 Feb 12:40

20 Feb 12:38
Defence turns to Jason's psychiatric treatment. Dr Stoloff hospitalised him in February 2018 when he suffered a major depressive episode. He has no personality disorders. "He is still depressed and requires treatment for a long time," says Van der Spuy.

20 Feb 12:32
Defence: The deceased treaded along life's path, doing well, making people happy, employing them and generally travelling through life without many hiccups or problems. For 48 years, Jason had an absolutely clear record. 

20 Feb 12:28

20 Feb 12:25

20 Feb 12:24
Defence points out that Jason and Susan struggled to have children but were blessed with their daughters thanks to IVF.

20 Feb 12:16

20 Feb 12:15

20 Feb 12:14
Van der Spuy labels the murder as a "crime of passion". He says Jason testified about his upbringing and relationships. His mother also testified about his upbringing and how he was adopted by his step-dad into a loving relationship, in a middle-upper class home.

20 Feb 12:12

20 Feb 12:10
Van der Spuy turns to society's response to violent crimes: I will never argue that society condones such conduct or views it in anything else but a serious light. Intimate femicide is a serious problem, particularly in SA.

20 Feb 12:09
"I can only describe this as a moment of weakness or madness, in which he simply snapped. Court found he punched her on her eyebrow, he exerted force on her to immobilise, he throttled and smothered her," says Van der Spuy.

20 Feb 12:07
Court resumes.

20 Feb 11:09
The court is adjourned until 12:00 so that both parties can reconsider their arguments.

20 Feb 11:08

20 Feb 11:04
Van der Spuy says there is sympathy for Susan because of phoning Jason "3000 times", flying to Cape Town to visit all the sites of his infidelities, checking his phone. This might have driven Jason mad but it reflects her desire to cling to the marriage and not break up. 

20 Feb 11:01
Defence says Rohde had not been charged or convicted of adultery.

20 Feb 11:00

20 Feb 11:00
The murder was committed in a moment of passion, absolute weakness and madness, and loss of control in the context of the accused simply having snapped, says Van der Spuy.

20 Feb 10:58
The crime was clearly not committed to achieve financial or any other material gain or benefit. He refers to an insurance policy which had a suicide exclusion clause and said it would have been "madness" to stage a suicide, says Van der Spuy.

20 Feb 10:58
Van der Spuy: This murder was less serious because there was no premeditation. 

20 Feb 10:57

20 Feb 10:51

20 Feb 10:51
Van der Spuy: When sentencing, the court should equally consider the nature of the crime, wishes and interests of the community and the accused's personal circumstances. 

20 Feb 10:48
Van der Spuy says that nowhere does the State suggest in papers that the Court should exceed the minimum sentence of 15 years of murder. He says the State (Louis van Niekerk) was being opportunistic by suggesting this during the verbal argument.

20 Feb 10:44
Van der Spuy: You cannot ignore that my client has at all times maintained his innocence. This means he cannot raise points of mitigation that extenuate circumstances of murder.

20 Feb 10:43
Defence lawyer Graham van der Spuy: I find it difficult and think the court also has a problem in thinking of appropriate an sentence. In this case there are even more specific particular difficulties, as opposed to common, run of the mill cases.

20 Feb 10:41

20 Feb 10:41

20 Feb 10:40
Louis can Niekerk: Should the court decide 15 years is appropriate for murder, I don't think it warrants concurrent sentence for defeating of ends of justice.

20 Feb 10:36
"He brought it onto himself and the fall out now is what you see in the suffering of the three kids. They are torn apart. They are loyal towards the accused... they are at a loss what to do," says Van Niekerk.

20 Feb 10:35
Judge Salie-Hlophe asks the State about rehabilitation. The prosecutor says Jason wants to appeal and that crosses out the chance of rehabilitation. She disagrees.

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