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Jason Rohde's lawyer attacks credibility of state pathologist

FILE PHOTO: Murder accused Jason Rohde speaks with his defense team in court.
FILE PHOTO: Murder accused Jason Rohde speaks with his defense team in court.

Graham van der Spuy‚ advocate for murder accused Jason Rohde‚ has done all he can to to rip a major hole through the credibility of state pathologist dr Akmal Coetzee-Khan‚ accusing him of making deliberate errors‚ jumping to conclusions that warped his analysis and‚ in effect‚ obstructing justice.

Van der Spuy pronounced‚ during these heads of the defence’s argument on Wednesday‚ that “through a cacophony of incorrect assumptions”‚ he had declared right at the outset that “Susan was assaulted and murdered‚ that her husband was a suspect‚ and that foul play had occurred”. “He bumbled head first into the matter and it is outrageous‚” said Van der Spuy.

Coetzee-Khan was accused of interfering in processes beyond his ambit when he said at the crime scene investigation that Rohde should immediately be examined for injuries which would form part of the record‚ and that he should have his passport confiscated lest he become a flight risk.

“This was outside the ambit of his duties. So involved was he with the potential prosecution of this case that he could not see the wood for the trees‚” said Van der Spuy.

He added‚ “What we have is a shockingly poor incident scene inspection. We have fundamentally incorrect conclusions. His evidence and report in that regard were not worth the paper they were written on. It was forensic nonsense.”

After cutting holes in the crime scene investigation report‚ Van der Spuy moved swiftly to the autopsy.

This‚ he said‚ “was incompetently performed”‚ and “utterly flawed.” He questioned why the state pathologist had claimed to take his own notes during the autopsy (in itself “unusual” as a foot-pedalled dictaphone or scribe is normally used) but that those notes then “vanished”.

He also asked why it took “nine months to squeeze the autopsy report out of the state”. “One can’t but think that something fishy is going on‚” he said.

He questioned why no X-rays were performed on Susan Rohde’s body‚ and why no histology was included in the report when it could have indicated either way if Susan had a rope placed around her neck by someone else when she was already deceased‚ or if she had placed it around her own neck before committing suicide.

The case continues.

- TimesLIVE


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