Rohde trial postponed to give pathologist time to read through medical research

2017-11-29 14:45

Jason Rohde in the Western Cape High Court shortly before his trial was postponed to give the State’s pathologist an opportunity to read through medical research. (Jenni Evans, News24)

Jason Rohde in the Western Cape High Court shortly before his trial was postponed to give the State’s pathologist an opportunity to read through medical research. (Jenni Evans, News24)

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Cape Town – The Western Cape High Court trial of property mogul Jason Rohde, accused of murdering his wife Susan, was postponed to give the State’s pathologist an opportunity to read through medical research.

Judge Gayaat Salie-Hlophe postponed the trial to Thursday after she was informed that Paarl chief pathologist Dr Deidre Abrahams needed time to read through screeds of academic literature, which includes more than 180 pages of documents.

AS IT HAPPENED: Cross examination halted as pathologist allowed time to read literature for #Rohde trial

This comes after Graham van der Spuy, the defence advocate specialising in the medical aspect of Rohde's defence, made several references to extensive literature regarding ligature marks on Wednesday.

The defence contends that Susan hanged herself, but it is the State’s case that she was strangled and that her hanging was staged.

- Also read: Jason Rohde 'staged wife's suicide wrong' - pathologist

The ligature marks which Van der Spuy referred to relate to the suicide claims.

Salie-Hlophe gave the defence and prosecution a few minutes to discuss Abrahams' concern that she had not had time to read all the documents handed in to the court.

Pete Mihalik, who is also on Rohde’s legal team, agreed that Abrahams had the right to prepare for questions based on the extracts of literature the defence referred to.

He referred to the example of Abrahams' colleague, Dr Akmal Coetzee-Khan, who conceded that he should not have given the exact time of Susan’s death 5:40. Coetzee-Khan said in his cross-examination that he should have provided a range, from 02:00 until 08:00 instead.

Read: Rohde murder trial: State Pathologist admits 'time of death' mistake

The admission was used to cast doubt over his entire testimony.

Mihalik agreed that Abrahams should therefore be afforded an opportunity to prepare.

Manual strangulation vs hanging

Abrahams is Coetzee-Khan’s boss and observed the autopsy he conducted on Susan’s body, given the high-profile nature of the case and anomalies regarding earlier information that she had committed suicide.

She testified about her own observations of the autopsy and said she supported Coetzee-Khan's findings that Susan died as a result of manual strangulation.

She did not agree with the conclusion of defence-appointed pathologist Reggie Perumal that Susan's injuries supported the hanging claims.

Rohde was the CEO of Geffen International Realty Franchises and he and his wife had been attending a property conference at Spier Wine Estate at the time of her death.  Her body was found in the bathroom of their suite.

Her death followed a verbal and physical fight over Rohde’s attempt to visit a woman, with whom he had been having an affair, who was also at the conference.

The trial resumes on Thursday.


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

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