The arrest of Jason Rohde, CEO of Sotheby’s International Realty, was unlawful and destroyed his life, the Stellenbosch Magistrates’ Court heard on Thursday.
It also devastated his three daughters to witness their father’s early morning arrest in their home in Bryanston, Johannesburg, on Tuesday.
This was stated by Rohde’s high-powered legal team, comprising two advocates and three attorneys.
Rohde was arrested for the alleged murder of his 47-year-old wife, Susan Rohde.
The couple had been staying at Spier Wine Estate in Stellenbosch for a company function when the mother of three was found dead in the bathroom on July 24.
Police initially ruled it a suicide, but this was changed to murder after postmortem results indicated she had been strangled.
On Thursday, proceedings before Magistrate Greg Jacobs were expected to start at 9am with a state application for a seven day remand as is normal in all first court appearances of arrested persons.
State advocate Carien Teunissen requested the seven-day remand to enable an investigation into Rohde’s background.
The proceedings only started at 12.30pm and were then adjourned for the lunch break.
Defence advocate Peter Mihalik presented a lengthy affidavit to the court, signed by Rohde.
Mihalik then proceeded to read the contents of the affidavit into the court record.
Mihalik said the defence’s private pathology report stated that Rohde’s deceased wife had died from hanging, and not from strangulation as alleged.
He said the deceased had been diagnosed as a suicide risk, and the family had been warned that she needed help.
He said it was not in the interests of justice to delay Rohde’s release on bail, as requested by the state.
He said Rohde had provided the authorities with sufficient real evidence as to why he was innocent.
Mihalik said the detective who had carried out Rohde’s arrest at his home without a warrant for his arrest had done so on the instructions of a senior official attached to the Western Cape Directorate for Public Prosecutions.
The proceedings will resume on Thursday afternoon.
-African News Agency (ANA)