Cape Town – Lawyers representing wife killer Jason Rohde are today expected to apply for leave to appeal yesterday's Western Cape High Court ruling to reject his bail application.
Releasing the former property mogul from Drakenstein prison on bail – pending the outcome of his appeal against his sentence in the Supreme Court of Appeal – would “offend the rule of law and make a mockery of the criminal justice system”, Judge Gayaat Salie-Hlophe said yesterday.
Rohde was handed an effective 20 years' imprisonment for murdering his wife Susan and for defeating the ends of justice for staging her murder as a suicide at Spier Hotel in 2016.
“The case for (Rohde) in support of his bail doesn’t trump the factors warranting his continued incarceration. The administration of justice would be seriously undermined if this court were to grant bail for the reasons advanced and in circumstances where the applicant had been convicted of such a serious and heinous crime.
“The court is not persuaded that the facts before it are sufficiently compelling to justify the interruption of Mr Rohde’s sentence of imprisonment.
"If anything, the interests of justice require that he should continue to serve his 20-year sentence,” said Judge Salie-Hlophe.
Throughout his trial, former Lew Geffen Sotheby’s chief executive Rohde maintained his innocence and said Susan had been driven to commit suicide after she became aware of his ongoing extramarital affair with estate agent Jolene Alterskye.
In papers before the court, Rohde stated that he wanted to be released on bail so he could attend to his business affairs and maintain his children financially.
“I have been incarcerated for eight months since November8, 2018. The prejudice in terms of caring for the emotional and financial needs of my three children, as set out hereinafter, as well as rescuing and/or salvaging my business, has been immeasurable.
“It is against the aforesaid background that I beg the leave of this court to consider this bail application favourably, as soon as possible,” said Rohde in court papers.
Judge Salie-Hlophe said the court could not turn a blind eye to Rohde being a flight risk, as he was in possession of an offshore bank account, has Australian and UK passports, and holds dual citizenship in Australia and South Africa.
“The ‘novel’ economic argument in bail applications of this nature is unfortunate and displaced.
“Incarceration comes with the inevitable consequence of financial hardship and impoverishment,” said Judge Salie-Hlophe.