Defence witness, forensic psychiatrist Dr. Larissa Panieri-Peter testified in the Western Cape High Court on Monday. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency/ANA

Cape Town - Forensic psychiatrist Dr Larissa Panieri-Peter, who testified that Susan Rohde had major depression, which increased her risk of suicide, was excused by Judge Gayaat Salie-Hlophe on Tuesday, for "regurgitating testimonies already placed before the Western Cape High Court" and for going beyond scope and role of a witness.

Panieri-Peter who testified before the court on Monday where Jason Rohde is standing trial for the murder of his wife, Susan, who was found dead at the Spier Wine Estate in 2016, said she had physical and telephonic sessions with people involved in both Jason and Susan Rohde’s life. 

She said given her understanding of psychiatry, she would say that Susan Rohde had major depression.

On Monday, Salie-Hlophe said she had raised concerns at various stages during Panieri-Peter’s testimony and had reservations about the witness testimony, which makes mention of anonymous persons and evidence already brought before the court. 

Salie-Hlophe said Panieri-Peter’s testimony alleges facts she claims were given to her by previous witnesses, but was not disclosed during their evidence. 

“This report and expert testimony of Panieri-Peter’s is no more than regurgitating testimonies already placed before this court. In fact, it went about to use the function and role of court, whose role it is to determine whether Susan's death was a suicide or homicide. No court acting reasonably would abdicate this responsibility. 

“Unless there is anything the witness can bring, further examination is not allowed and accordingly this witness will be excused,” said Salie-Hlophe.

Defence advocate Graham van der Spuy objected to the ruling saying it was grossly unfair and prejudices Rohde. Van der Spuy said he would bring an application for a special entry to court.

Salie-Hlophe noted the special entry and asked when the next witness would be available to give evidence. 

The trial was postponed until Tuesday, June 19, when the next witness would take the stand. 

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Cape Argus