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Jason Rohde severely depressed‚ advocate tells judge

Jason Rohde arrives in the High Court in Cape Town on Wednesday wearing a T-shirt and shorts.
Jason Rohde arrives in the High Court in Cape Town on Wednesday wearing a T-shirt and shorts.
Image: Philani Nombembe

Jason Rohde arrived in the High Court in Cape Town in handcuffs on Wednesday.

The former Johannesburg property executive‚ who has pleaded not guilty to murdering his wife‚ Susan‚ was rearrested on Tuesday and spent the night in police cells in Stellenbosch.

He was unshaven and dressed in a T-shirt and shorts as he arrived in the dock‚ in sharp contrast to the business suits he has typically worn.

Rohde was taken into custody at a Cape Town clinic after Judge Gayaat Salie-Hlophe issued a warrant for his arrest when he did not arrive at court for the resumption of his trial on Monday.

At the start of an inquiry in court on Wednesday into Rohde’s alleged breach of his R1.1-million bail‚ the businessman’s advocate‚ Pete Mihalik‚ revealed the contents of medical reports.

“They show that my client suffers from severe‚ major depression and that he would need to take medication for six weeks to strengthen himself‚” said Mihalik.

“[There is] a letter confirming that he has been admitted to Crescent Clinic [in Kenilworth].”

On Monday‚ Mihalik asked for a seven-day postponement of the trial.

Rohde‚ the former Lew Geffen/Sotheby’s International Realty chief executive‚ was sharing a room with his wife at Spier wine estate‚ near Stellenbosch‚ in July 2016 when she was found dead with the cord of a hair iron around her neck behind the locked door.

The indictment against Rohde accuses him of placing the cord around Susan’s neck “in a double strand around the clothing/towel hook at the back of the bathroom door”. He then supplied false information to police‚ it says.

“The postmortem examination conducted on the body of the deceased shows the cause of death as consistent with asphyxia following manual strangulation and external airway obstruction‚” says the indictment.

“The features of the ligature imprint abrasion mark are consistent with postmortem application to the neck.”

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