Jason Rohde, suspended CEO of Geffen International Realty Franchises, was granted bail today. “Yes, he’s going home today,” a noticeably relieved Advocate Pete Mihalik, who’s defending Rohde, said outside the Stellenbosch Magistrate’s Court.
Rohde, who didn’t show any emotion in court, is being accused of murdering his wife, Susan, whose body was found at the end of July in a hotel bathroom on the luxury Spier wine estate. The couple had been on the estate for the annual Sotheby’s conference. The State argues someone strangled Susan with their hands, while Jason’s defence team say she committed suicide.
Here’s what you need to know about Rohde’s bail:
- Rohde had to pay R100 000 bail and his legal team must submit documents to the court by 14 September guaranteeing R1 million, should he default on his bail conditions.
- The case has been postponed until 23 September, when the Magistrate will decide if Rohde may return to Johannesburg while waiting for the case to proceed. Rohde’s legal team are asking that he be allowed to live in Johannesburg because that’s where his three children and place of employment are. The State also has until then to complete their investigation.
- Strict bail conditions have been set. Rohde must stay with his brother in law in the Western Cape until his next court appearance on 23 September. He must check in three times a week at the police station in Melkbosstrand. In that time he’s not allowed to apply for any travel documents, nor may he discuss the case with any of his colleagues who are possible witnesses.
- Rohde’s defence team have requested that the State hand over copies of certain documents – such as the pathological report which states Susan was beaten and kicked before she died. The Magistrate denied the request because the State isn’t legally required to hand over such evidence. State Prosecutor in the case, Advocate Carine Teunissen, stressed that these documents were only to be handed over in the event that “the State’s case was weak”.
- The Magistrate ruled that the State’s list of witnesses was not to be revealed to the media. The State confirmed that Rohde is being accused of a schedule five transgression, and not a schedule six. Schedule five includes murder, while schedule six includes premeditated murder.