Murder accused Rohde’s bail conditions relaxed

Stellenbosch - The Stellenbosch District Court on Friday relaxed the bail conditions of murder accused Jason Rohde, CEO of Sotheby's International Realty SA, to enable him to return to his Bryanston home in Johannesburg.

Rohde is accused of the murder of his wife, Susan Rohde, in a hotel room at the Spier Wine Estate near Stellenbosch, where the couple stayed while attending a Realty International conference at the estate.

Jason Rohde's wife, Susan, was found dead in the couple's hotel room at the Spier Wine Estate. Picture: Jeffrey Abrahams. Credit: INDEPENDENT MEDIA

The accused is no longer confined to his sister's Melkbosstrand home on the Cape west coast, and no longer has to obtain special permission to visit his three daughters in Johannesburg.

While Magistrate Greg Jacobs relaxed some of the bail conditions, he also imposed an additional one, namely that Rohde may not commit any further offence while on bail.

At Friday's hearing, the murder accused was represented by defence advocate Ross McKernon and three attorneys, Daniel Witz, Tony Mostert and Noorudien Hassan.

The prosecution was represented by Carien Teunissen, a deputy director in the Western Cape Directorate for Public Prosecutions. Rohde claimed that his presence in Gauteng was essential, to enable him to attend to the needs of his three daughters, as well as his duties CEO of Sotheby's International Realty SA.

He said sent that an email was sent to the Sotheby network that he was on “extended leave”. However, Teunissen said she had an email from the group, stating that Rohde had been suspended on full pay. Rohde said being restricted to Cape Town would result in his “constructive dismissal” from his post, as he was unable to fulfill his duties.

His defence team handed in an affidavit in which Rohde said: “If I cannot be with my agents in Gauteng, there is a real risk of the collapse of the business.”

Rohde said his wife's death had rendered him a single parent, and his three daughters had been identified by the media. He was desperate to protect them, but could not do so from the Western Cape, he said.

He said his eldest daughter was in matric, and the bail condition restricting him to the Western Cape had caused her to be placed in boarding school.

His other two daughters were at boarding school in the Eastern Cape, but had to be at home with him during school holidays, he said. Rohde was warned to return to court in Stellenbosch on January 27 next year.