Lock up this ruthless killer for a long time, Jason Rohde prosecutor tells judge

20 February 2019 - 12:21 By Philani Nombembe
Jason Rohde in the dock at the Cape Town high court on February 20 2019
Jason Rohde in the dock at the Cape Town high court on February 20 2019
Image: Anthony Molyneaux

The state asked the high court in Cape Town to throw the book at wife-killer Jason Rohde.

The former property consultant was convicted of murdering his wife Susan at Spier in Stellenbosch in 2016.

Judge Gayaat Salie-Hlophe
Judge Gayaat Salie-Hlophe
Image: sabar.co.za

The state and Rohde's counsel engaged in a contest on Wednesday to convince Judge Gayaat Salie-Hlophe for and against a harsh sentence.

The father of three has been in custody since his bail was revoked in November following his conviction.

Prosecutor Louis van Niekerk asked Salie-Hlophe to sentence Rohde to a minimum of 15 years for murder and to use her discretion in imposing sentence for defeating or obstructing the administration of justice.

Van Niekerk asked that the second sentence should not run concurrently with that of murder sentence. He said the fact that Rohde staged the crime scene to create an impression that Susan committed suicide was aggravating.

"She was murdered in the sanctity of her bedroom by her husband. She was vulnerable there. They were in a position of trust," said Van Niekerk.

"He was the father of their children and again, despite what was said that weekend, he never said we are 'going to start divorce proceedings'.

"She was of a mind that his marriage could be saved. What is also more aggravating, and points to sentence of more than the minimum sentence of 15 years, is that he [staged the scene]."

Salie-Hlophe had asked the parties to prepare arguments to address whether or not she should impose a sentence higher than the prescribed minimum of 15 years for murder.

Van Niekerk said intimate femicide was abnormally common in SA compared with the rest of the world.

"Leading up the murder, [Rohde] was leading a double life," he said. "[Susan] was taken by surprise in the intimate area of the bedroom that he became so volatile.

"Because of his deception, she always thought they could still save this marriage. He was wearing his wedding ring, although he had some doubts. That weekend, he allowed her to come to the conference at [Spier]."

Van Niekerk added: "The further aggravating circumstances are the high degree of the injuries that she suffered that were caused by the accused. They are indicative of an attack on her by him.

"In that sense, I would submit that the accused acted callously and uncaringly towards her, very cruelly, totally disregarding her as a person, wife and mother of his daughters. He was ruthless."

Graham van der Spuy, Jason Rohde's defence advocate, has argued that would be futile for Jason Rohde to stage a suicide when a life policy on his wife Susan's life had a suicide clause.
Graham van der Spuy, Jason Rohde's defence advocate, has argued that would be futile for Jason Rohde to stage a suicide when a life policy on his wife Susan's life had a suicide clause.
Image: Gallo Images

Rohde's counsel, Graham van der Spuy, said: "Any evidence I place before this court should not be viewed as admission on behalf of my client."

He said Rohde had pleaded not guilty.

Van der Spuy said it would be futile for Rohde to stage a suicide when a life policy on Susan's life had a suicide clause. "The murder was committed in a moment of passion ... loss of control [and] the accused having snapped.

"We see an accused embroiled in an adulterous relationship with a third party. In February the discovery of a Valentine's Day card which was discovered by the deceased – that set off a [trail of events]."

He said Rohde had been unable to stop the adulterous relationship and at the same time wanted to save his marriage for the sake of his daughters.

"[He] wanted to carry on enjoying the benefits of his infidelity. He never denied the immorality of his conduct.

"I think it is fair to say by the nature of things, being involved in such an adulterous relationship involves infidelity and deceit. In fact on a moralistic level, it is deplored."

Although murder was a serious crime, the killing Rohde has been convicted of was on a "lower level of seriousness", he said. The hearing continues.


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