AS IT HAPPENED: Jason Rohde has been a good son to us - mom Brenda tells court

2019-02-18 10:06

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

Jason Rohde is cross-examined during his trial for

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Last Updated at 20:19
18 Feb 12:23
#Rohde Judge Gayaat Salie-Hlophe postpones until Wednesday for closing sentencing arguments. Rohde will remain in custody until then. @JennaEtheridge

18 Feb 12:22

#Rohde State hands up document from Liberty Life indicating a payment of R735 000. Defence says the other policy that had the suicide clause was Discovery Life.

"My client has no knowledge or recollection of this policy." Says Susan must have taken it out. @JennaEtheridge

18 Feb 12:19
#Rohde VDS indicates that those are his witnesses in mitigation of sentence. He asks for a postponement until Wednesday because he had a "massive technological problem and lost an entire day of work" because power was out at his home. @JennaEtheridge

18 Feb 12:18
#Rohde Brenda tells the State she hasn't read the judgment against her son. Brenda says she is here to support her son, the truth and her grandchildren's future. "I wouldn't say I was biased, i just stated what I believe and what is fact." She is excused. @JennaEtheridge

18 Feb 12:16

#Rohde State says Mr Geffen can employ someone else to take Jason's place and help their family business.

Brenda doesn't seem convinced and says "he hasn't got the time" for that. @JennaEtheridge

18 Feb 12:15

#Rohde LVN points out under cross-exam that a life policy has set aside money for Jason's twins and they are well cared for at university.

Brenda says she does not know and was under impression that Jason's in laws were trying to get more money. @JennaEtheridge

18 Feb 12:15

Van Niekerk challenges Brenda on whether she has read the judgement.

She says that she hasn't

18 Feb 12:12
#Rohde Brenda ends: "He [Jason] has always been there for us and caring... Inside he has a heart of gold. I love him very much... and I am with him every step of the way. I ask the court to be lenient, if for no other reason, than for his children." @JennaEtheridge

18 Feb 12:10
#Rohde Brenda: "I can't emphasise enough Jason's gentle, caring personality. Not only with his family but with his friends and with his business employees. He was always there for them. He has always been accommodating and understanding." @JennaEtheridge

18 Feb 12:08

#Rohde VDS asks what eldest daughter's plan was this year.

"She was quite excited because she got this waitressing job in Cape Town, which she wanted to do in the interim." She also wants to study Pilates and then decide what to do. @JennaEtheridge

18 Feb 12:05
#Rohde Brenda says Jason's eldest Kathryn had to give up her studies last year because of the pressures of the trial. She and Jason "possibly have a better relationship than they ever did before and it’s such a lovely thing to see." @JennaEtheridge

18 Feb 12:03

#Rohde Brenda says she has great admiration for her three granddaughters. "They are amazingly strong young ladies.

But they adore their father.... They still look to him for guidance and respect his wishes. They just love him and supported him." @JennaEtheridge

18 Feb 12:02
Pressure of the trial caused daughter to give up her studies, says Brenda

18 Feb 12:00
#Rohde Brenda says it was "terribly important" for her to help keep contact between Jason and his three daughters since his arrest. @JennaEtheridge

18 Feb 11:59

#Rohde Brenda: I have not been able to play a more active role in the business because I have to take care of my grandchildren, his daughters.

It has had a huge, detrimental impact. @JennaEtheridge

18 Feb 11:58

#Rohde VDS: "Since Jason's conviction, who has been running the business and has there been any material effect?"

Brenda says he has left a big gap in the company because he played a big role on business and legal side. Handled recruitment and problem-solving. @JennaEtheridge

18 Feb 11:55
#Rohde Brenda Rohde's testimony continues after a short break. @JennaEtheridge

18 Feb 11:53
#Rohde Brenda: "I have thought back and there is honestly nothing that I can repeat that has even come closer to being physical at all.... I have seen no physical act of aggression from Jason at all." @JennaEtheridge

18 Feb 11:53
#Rohde Brenda explains that when Jason is angry, he goes quiet and walks away "which I admit, can be a bit difficult being the other person. He doesn’t sulk, he is not moody. @JennaEtheridge

18 Feb 11:32
Court takes a 15 minute tea adjournment, at Van der Spuy's request

18 Feb 11:31
There's nothing that I can repeat that has ever come close to him being physical at all, Jason Rohde's mom Brenda tells the court.

18 Feb 11:28
Rohde Brenda: Mr Geffen allowed Jason to work as a CEO for Sothebys and also help our business on a management basis. @JennaEtheridge

18 Feb 11:28

#Rohde Brenda says they were the three shareholders of their real estate agency. Lew Geffen approached us to buy us out and become a franchise.

Jason recognised the importance of being a brand name. Geffen returned and we became business partners instead. @JennaEtheridge

18 Feb 11:24
#Rohde Brenda: My husband was a cruise operator and I helped him. I later became an estate agent and started a business with Jason and my business partner. @JennaEtheridge

18 Feb 11:23

#Rohde Jason and Susan moved to Australia to be with her family. They stayed there for about three years.

Brenda says Susan loved it but Jason loved South Africa and it wasn't home for him. @JennaEtheridge

18 Feb 11:21

#Rohde Much against his parents' wishes, he quit tertiary studies after meeting Susan. He wanted to be self-sufficient and earn some money.

"They married very young... we were very happy with his choice of girl. A lovely girl."

18 Feb 11:18

#Rohde Brenda says she is sure Jason got up to mischief but she never had any complaints or disciplinary.

"He has a dry sense of humour and can be very funny in a quiet way."

He seemed to attract very decent, like-minded friends.

18 Feb 11:17
#Rohde Brenda says Jason was accepted at King Edward school as a boarder during the week. "He did play an active role in sports activities there, mainly rugby... He was popular with his friends.... He made very good friends."

18 Feb 11:15

#Rohde Brenda says Jason was an average student and loved playing cricket. He was also cricket captain.

"He was very well-liked, had both male and female friends"... Still friends with some of them today. @JennaEtheridge

18 Feb 11:14
Jason was an average student, says Brenda

18 Feb 11:11

#Rohde Brenda: His sister Victoria has always adored Jason. She has always put him on a pedestal, always admired the man he is.

Admired him as a father figure, a businessman. He was always there for her at any time of need. She just loves him.

18 Feb 11:11

#Rohde Brenda: We had another child just before Jason was 9.

She was diagnosed as being deaf at 12 months. She is now happily married, made a business from horses.

18 Feb 11:10

Victoria has always admired Jason, Brenda tells the court.  

"She still admires him greatly"  

18 Feb 11:09
Jason was "always kind, always patient" with my daughter, Brenda tells the court

18 Feb 11:07

#Rohde Brenda: My current husband and I married when Jason was about 4.5 years. Jason and him just fell in love with each other.

It has been fantastic since day one. He wanted Jason to take his name so he formally adopted him.

18 Feb 11:06

#Rohde Brenda: I put an ad in the newspaper and that is how we got divorced. I heard rumours that his father had gone to Australia and then the UK.

I was 21 and Jason was about 2. Met current husband, who I have been married to for 46 years, when Jason was about 3.

18 Feb 11:05

#Rohde Brenda: My husband and I came to a mutual agreement to separate and then divorce. He settled in JHB and I went to my parents, who helped me with Jason as a toddler.

Unfortunately my husband completely disappeared. @JennaEtheridge

18 Feb 11:05

Brenda testifies that Jason's father "disappeared"  

She divorced Jason's father when she was 22 and Jason was 2 years old

18 Feb 11:03

#Rohde Brenda on Jason: "He was a normal child. Very happy go lucky, very easy to discipline, made friends, loved very much by the whole family. He was just a very easygoing baby."

When he was 14 months old, she parted ways with his father. @JennaEtheridge

18 Feb 11:02

#Rohde Brenda speaks very softly.

She explains she is from Birmingham in the UK.

Jason was born in England.

When he was 11 months old, they moved to SA to be with her parents. @JennaEtheridge

18 Feb 11:00
#Rohde Fleischer is excused from the stand. The next witness is Jason's mother Brenda. VDS says he realises this is not an easy situation for her to be in.

18 Feb 10:59
Brenda Rohde (Jason's mother) testifies to her son's character

18 Feb 10:57

#Rohde Under cross-exam, LVN points out that Fleischer didn't know a lot of things about Jason.

He replies: "A lot of surprises came out through the press etc... the one thing I did not do was discuss case and merits during my time with him in Bryanston."

18 Feb 10:56
#Rohde Fleischer: "I just hope and pray that with all catastrophic stuff happening in SA at the moment, with Eskom and state capture... that the right decision and right sentencing be issued to our friend Jason. I know eventually the right thing will happen".

18 Feb 10:56
Fleischer admits he did not read the judgment, but disagrees with "many things" that came out during the trial

18 Feb 10:54
Fleischer says he was not aware that Rohde was having an affair

18 Feb 10:52
#Rohde Fleischer: Jason "has kept strong through this whole ordeal because of his daughters".

18 Feb 10:51
#Rohde Fleischer: Lucy's granddaughter is now finishing her master's in Public Administration at Unisa thanks to the Rohde family.

18 Feb 10:51

#Rohde Fleischer: The 18 months I spent with Jason in their beautiful Bryanston home, I met their domestic worker Lucy. I used to call her Gogo.

She looked after us and she was an incredible person. Also met her granddaughter. They were part of the family.

18 Feb 10:50

#Rohde Fleischer: You can tell character of person within first 9 holes of golf course. You will know if they are misbehaving or cheating.

I picked up only the best about Jason.

Never argued with him.

Never seen him argue or raise his voice. He has always helped me.

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