Apology gets convicted wife killer Jason Rohde's ex off the hook with judge
Criminal charges have been withdrawn against Jolene Alterskye, former girlfriend of real estate boss Jason Rohde, who murdered his wife Susan in 2016.
Western Cape acting director for public prosecutions, advocate Nicolette Bell, withdrew the charge after representations by Alterskye.
Alterskye apologised for casting aspersions on the criminal justice system in handwritten letters to Judge Gayaat Salie-Hlope, who sentenced her former lover to 18 years in jail for murder.
Alterskye had previously questioned the role played by the state in the conviction, and vented her disdain for the “so-called justice system”.
However, in a letter dated May 8 and addressed to “Her Ladyship, the Honourable Justice Salie-Hlophe”, she apologised for the lack of judgment in her verbal attack on the judiciary.
“Please allow me to apologise, unequivocally and unreservedly, for the damaging comments I made after the Rohde trial,” read the opening paragraph of her letter, shared with the media by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).
“The comments were not only inappropriate, but also lacked the respect which you, as a judge, and the judiciary in general, deserve,” she wrote. “Moreover, I apologise profusely for the reputational damage and harm my comments caused you, in your personal capacity, as well as a judge of the high court, and also the damage I caused to the judiciary as a whole.
“My comments were thoughtless, hurtful and careless. The said comments were made without any foresight of the resultant damage they would cause,” said Alterskye.
Western Cape NPA spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said the charges were withdrawn following the representations.
“Alterskye was charged with criminal defamation, alternatively crimen injuria [five counts], contempt of court, alternatively criminal defamation [one count],” said Ntabazalila.
“In her representations, Alterskye makes an unequivocal apology to Judge Salie-Hlophe, who presided over the case, the Judge President of the Western Cape High Court, Judge John Hlophe, and the National Prosecuting Authority subsequent to her disparaging remarks against the justice system and the state,” he said.
Bell accepted her representations and “her unambiguous apology and withdraws all charges against the accused”, said Ntabazalila.
Rohde murdered his wife Susan during a company breakaway weekend at the Spier Wine Estate, fuelled by a mix of alcohol, envy, lust and hatred.
The weekend event was attended by Lew Geffen/Sotheby's staff, including Alterskye, with whom Rohde, CEO of the company at the time, was having an affair which Susan had long suspected.
Alterskye became the focal point of a vicious fight which started at the weekend’s main function on the evening of July 23 2016, and ended with Susan’s death by manual strangulation in the early hours of July 24.
Rohde is appealing his conviction and sentence at the supreme court after an appeal was shot down by Salie-Hlope in the Cape Town high court in 2019.