Lengthy delay in Rohde murder case as state awaits ‘outstanding DNA evidence’

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Dressed in a suit and tie‚ Jason Rohde entered the Stellenbosch Magistrates Court with a confident stride.

It was a distant cry from what he looked like several months ago when he was arrested for his wife’s murder.

Police had him in handcuffs for Susan Rohde’s murder in August last year. While he always looked calm‚ he was often unshaven and dressed casually.

But the Johannesburg businessman’s highly anticipated appearance was brief on Friday morning. He will fly to the Western Cape in June again because the case was postponed for further investigation.

Rohde’s bail conditions were also amended slightly. Now he is to report to Randburg police station three times a week between 8am and 8 pm.

This came after an agreement between Rohde’s lawyers and state prosecutor Carien Theunissen was reached.

“The state require an extension of time for further investigations because the is outstanding DNA evidence. We agreed to allow the state a longer period rather than bring in Jason all the time at severe financial expense‚” said his lawyer Daniel Witz.

“We amended the bail conditions to allow him to have some sort of normality with his family and his personal life.”

Witz said Rohde’s eldest daughter is studying and is no longer based in Johannesburg. And his twins are at high school in another province.

He continued that the new bail conditions would “allow him to structure his work commitments a bit better’”.

Eric Ntabazalila‚ spokesman for the National Prosecuting Authority in the Western Cape‚ said it would have been a ”futile exercise” to go ahead with the trial because the investigation is still on-going.

“We agreed to the postponement and the request for bail amendment‚” said Ntabazalila.

“We’re still pursuing the case for the accused because we believe there is still a case for him to answer.”

Rohde and his wife attended a company convention at Spier wine estate in Stellenbosch in July. Her body was found in the bathroom of their hotel room.

Cape Town estate agent Jolene Alterskye was allegedly romantically involved with the businessman. Alterskye‚ who is a witness in the case‚ also attended the convention.

Rohde was removed as a director of Geffen International Realty Franchises and suspended as CEO of the company after he was taken into custody.

Rohde’s lawyer‚ Nicole Ross‚ has previously told the Sunday Times that he would challenge the ”lawfulness of his suspension”.

Ross also said he would go to the high court to review his removal as a director. During his bail application‚ he told the court that his net worth is about R30-million and his monthly income is about R155 000.

– TMG Digital/TimesLIVE



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