Rohde to appear in court for mental health inquiry

2018-02-06 14:33
Jason Rohde and part of his defence team in the Western Cape High Court. (Jenni Evans, News24)

Jason Rohde and part of his defence team in the Western Cape High Court. (Jenni Evans, News24)

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Cape Town - An inquiry into murder-accused Jason Rohde was postponed, for the property magnate to be present during proceedings, Western Cape High Court Judge Gayaat Salie-Hlophe ruled on Tuesday.

The inquiry, scheduled for Tuesday, entailed a testimony on Rohde's mental health from court-appointed psychiatrist Dr Kevin Stoloff, who was present in court.

Rohde's lawyer Advocate Pete Mihalik, however, submitted that - in terms of sections 158 and 159 of the Criminal Procedure Act - an inquiry of this nature required that the accused be present as well.

"In the interests of justice, the court must either issue a warrant of arrest or hold the matter over until the accused is fit," said Mihalik.

Court was adjourned after Salie-Hlophe ruled that an inquiry into Rohde's mental health was important for her to form an opinion on the reasons for the accused's absence.

On Monday, Mihalik applied for a postponement, saying his client had been hospitalised. He also presented the court with three confidential medical reports excusing Rohde from trial for six weeks. 

Read: Rohde Trial: Court hears Jason Rohde has been 'hospitalised'

Salie-Hlophe rejected the application, arguing that the reasons for Rohde's absence were insufficient.

Rohde is on trial for the alleged murder of his wife Susan Rohde at the Spier Wine Estate in Stellenbosch, where she had accompanied him to the annual Sotheby's conference.

She was found dead in their bathroom on July 24, 2016. At first, it was thought she had committed suicide, but Rohde has since been charged with murder and accused of tampering with the murder scene. He has pleaded not guilty.

Rohde was the CEO of Geffen International Realty Franchises.

The inquiry will proceed on Wednesday, when Rohde is expected to either appear or face possible arrest. 

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