Releasing Rohde on bail would be a mockery, says judge
News / 16 August 2019, 10:10am / Vincent Cruywagen
Cape Town - Releasing convicted wife-killer Jason Rohde would make a mockery of the criminal justice system, Judge Gayaat Salie-Hlope said after dismissing his bail application, pending the hearing of his appeal against his conviction and sentencing.
Advocate William King SC appearing on behalf of Rohde, said he received instructions to appeal, and that it be heard by a full bench of judges.
Arguments will be heard today.
Rohde’s latest bid for freedom comes after he petitioned the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) last month, and secured leave to appeal his conviction and sentencing.
Pending the hearing of this appeal, Rohde wants to be released on bail to rescue his business and secure financial freedom for his children.
In her judgment, Judge Salie-Hlope said: “Essentially, it boils down to the fact that Rohde finds incarceration unbearable. Mr Rohde, it was argued, want his “freedom” and not being “kept in chains” and “in a prison cell”.
“The administration of justice would be seriously undermined if this court were to grant bail under the circumstances that he has been convicted of a heinous murder. The facts before the court are not sufficiently compelling to justify the interruption of his sentence of imprisonment.”
Rohde was convicted in November for the murder of his wife Susan, and defeating the course of justice by staging the scene to make it look as though she committed suicide at the Spier Hotel in Stellenbosch, three years ago.
He was sentenced in February to 18 years’ imprisonment for murder and five years for defeating the course of justice, of which three years are to run concurrently.
In April, Rohde applied for leave to appeal his conviction and sentencing, but his application was dismissed by Judge Salie-Hlope.
He then approached the SCA last month, and secured leave to appeal.
In his application, King argued that his client’s circumstances had changed, and that the facts contained in supplementary affidavits justified the court granting him bail, pending the hearing of his appeal.
But the State opposed it on the basis that it would be contrary to the administration of justice to release Rohde on bail, as such lenience would bring the administration of justice into disrepute.
Judge Salie-Hlope also expressed concern about Rohde having a South African passport, as well as an Australian and UK one.
She also highlighted evidence heard in the Stellenbosch Magistrate’s Court regarding his dual South African citizenship, and his British citizenship as his country of birth.
“The fact that Rohde’s passports are in the possession of the police, and that some have expired does not exclude the possibility of him obtaining passports through other means.
“This court cannot turn a blind eye to Rohde holding these rights of passage and stay to other countries, and that passports issued by those countries to its citizens are not within the control of South Africa,” she said.