Rohde lines up third pathologist in bid to prove innocence

Jason Rohde
Jason Rohde
Image: FILE

A third forensic pathologist is set to join property mogul Jason Rohde’s defence team.

Defence advocate Graham van der Spuy told the High Court in Cape Town on Wednesday that Professor Gert Simon may be his next witness‚ as he strives to prove Rohde did not murder his wife‚ Susan.

Van der Spuy has already called Dr Reggie Perumal and Dr Izak Loftus in his attempt to convince Judge Gayaat Sale-Hlophe that Susan Rohde committed suicide by hanging herself with the cord of a hair iron.

Van der Spuy said a decision would be made over the weekend on whether to call Simon when the trial resumes.

Earlier‚ the court was told that the detective investigating Susan’s death drank R2‚300-a-bottle Johnny Walker Blue Label whisky while taking a witness’s statement.

Brendan Miller‚ who heads the Atlantic Seaboard business of Lew Geffen/Sotheby’s International Realty‚ said Sergeant Marlon Appolis asked for a glass of the premium tipple at his Fresnaye home.

Miller told Van der Spuy that Appolis’s colleagues and other company staff drank tea and coffee.

The estate agent was testifying for the defence in Rohde’s trial‚ in which the former Lew Geffen/Sotheby’s CEO is accused of killing his wife at a company conference at Spier‚ near Stellenbosch‚ in July 2016.

Miller — who worked in the same office as Rohde’s mistress‚ Jolene Alterskye — said he had been at the conference‚ and Appolis wanted to take a statement about what he had witnessed.

The detective had not arrived for an earlier appointment at the estate agency‚ and Miller said a new arrangement was made to meet at his home at 11am on a weekday morning to avoid the disruption involved in having police at the office.

Appolis had seen bottles of Johnny Walker Blue Label at his office on two previous visits‚ said Miller.

“We give it to clients as gifts‚” he said. “When he got there to my house I asked if he wanted tea or coffee. He asked where his Blue Label whisky was. Sergeant Appolis had a whisky. They proceeded to take my statement.”

Miller said Samantha Bartlett‚ a Sotheby’s “PR lady”‚ typed his statement and he signed it. Van der Spuy said it appeared Appolis had then acted as the commissioner of oaths.

Cross-examining‚ prosecutor Louis van Niekerk said Appolis reported taking “a sip” of whisky while standing on Miller’s balcony with smoking colleagues after taking the statement.

But Miller said he had given Appolis a tot in his lounge. “He had the full tot. He drank it before the statements were made.”

He was not aware which of the three police officers present was driving their vehicle.

The case will continue on Monday.

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