Property mogul Jason Rohde closes his case in murder trial
Murder-accused property mogul Jason Rohde closed the case for his defence on Monday.
Pathologist Professor Gert Saayman and Rohde's lawyer Daniel Witz were scheduled to testify to bolster the millionaire's version of events that led to the death of his wife Susan at an upmarket estate outside Cape Town in July 2016.
But his counsel Graham van der Spuy told the High Court in Cape Town: "In the circumstances‚ I have decided not to call any further witnesses. I close the case."
Judge Gayaat Salie-Hlophe postponed the matter to November 6 for closing arguments.
Rohde trial: State pathologist 'let himself down completely', defence argues
The demise of the State's case against Jason Rohde started from the moment that its forensic pathologist, Dr Akmal Coetzee-Khan, jumped to conclusions at the scene that Susan Rohde's death could be a homicide, the defence submitted on Wednesday.
Delivering closing arguments in the Western Cape High Court, Rohde's lawyer Graham van der Spuy said Coetzee-Khan's evidence did not stand the test of scrutiny and could not be accepted.
"He was a very inexperienced consultant and had been on register for about a year when he was given this high-profile case. His inspection at the scene is when everything started to go wrong," van der Spuy said.
A year ago, Coetzee-Khan testified that he recommended police investigate a possible homicide in 2016 after noting blood stains in the room, scratches on Susan's face and blunt-force trauma injuries which suggested a physical altercation.
#Rohde snapped in anger and staged murder scene, State argues
Cape Town - In a heated argument with his wife, murder accused Jason Rohde snapped, which led to him allegedly smothering her and staging the murder as a suicide. This is according to State advocate Louis van Niekerk, who argued before Western Cape High Court Judge Gayaat Salie-Hlophe for the former property mogul to be convicted of murder.
Jason Rohde would have had to be like Hannibal Lecter, if the State's version is true - defence
Jason Rohde would either have to be "Superman" or "Hannibal Lecter" to execute his wife's murder and staged suicide in the manner that the State suggests, his lawyer Graham van der Spuy said on Wednesday.
Delivering his closing argument, he said Rohde should be acquitted of because the evidence "overwhelmingly" pointed to his client's version that he discovered his wife Susan had taken her life in a hotel bathroom in 2016.
Van der Spuy said there was an absence of incriminating evidence that was usually found in murder cases, with the State conceding on Tuesday that there was no single definitive cause of death.
He pointed out that the investigating officer investigated the drains in the hotel bathroom and found nothing untoward. Nothing was found electronically to suggest premeditation.
Ever since that horrifying morning in July 2016 when Jason Rohde’s wife, Susan (47), was found dead behind the bathroom door of their suite at a top Cape wine estate with an electrical cord tied around her neck, the property mogul has been fighting to keep himself out of jail.
Today he will find out his fate. The Western Cape High Court is on Thursday expected to deliver judgment.
His legal team maintains it was suicide but the state is convinced it can prove Jason (49) strangled his wife in suite 221 of the hotel at Spier Wine Farm near Stellenbosch.
After months of hearing expert witnesses testifying about what could have happened that awful morning, South Africans were riveted in June when Jason finally took the stand in the high court in Cape Town to give his version of events.