National 26.8.2016 08:10 am

‘Very wealthy’ Sotheby’s boss’ bail application continues

Jason Rohde and Susan Rohde. Picture: Facebook

Jason Rohde and Susan Rohde. Picture: Facebook

Argument is to be presented in court on Friday on whether the alleged murder of Susan Rohde was premeditated.

The murder accused CEO of Sotheby’s International Realty South Africa, Jason Rohde, is expected back in the Stellenbosch Magistrates’ Court on Friday, where his bail application will continue.

The real estate executive was arrested at his Bryanston home in Johannesburg early on Tuesday morning in connection with the murder of his 47-year-old wife, Susan Rohde.

The two had been staying at the Spier Wine Estate for a company function recently. The mother of three was found hanging from the back of the bathroom door on July 24 with the cord of a hair-straightening iron around her neck.

Argument is to be presented in court on Friday on whether the alleged murder of Susan Rohde was premeditated.

A private autopsy, arranged by the family, revealed that she had committed suicide, but this was contradicted by a subsequent state postmortem examination that concluded she had been strangled, and therefore murdered.

The bail hearing, which began on Thursday, is being heard in the Stellenbosch District Court before magistrate Greg Jacobs.

Daniel Witz, for Rohde, said the couple’s three daughters, an 18-year-old and 16-year-old twins, are being cared for by both their paternal and maternal grandparents.

At Thursday’s proceedings, state advocate Carien Teunissen requested that Rohde be remanded for seven days to enable the authorities to probe his background to decide whether to release him on bail, or to oppose his bail application.

The six-man defence team, led by advocate Peter Mihalik, opposed the requested remand and pointed out that the state was not entitled, without further ado, to such a remand.

Mihalik said the court had discretion to grant or refuse the remand. The defence contended that if indeed the deceased was murdered, it was not premeditated. If premeditated, Rohde would have to satisfy the court that there were substantial and compelling circumstances justifying his release on bail.

If the alleged murder happened in the heat of an argument, and was not premeditated, Rohde merely had to satisfy the court that his release on bail was in the interests of justice.

Mihalik said his client was worth R30 million, and thus “very wealthy”, and could afford bail.

– African News Agency (ANA)

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