Rohde trial could be wrapped up by end of the year
There is a likelihood the murder trial of property mogul Jason Rohde could be wrapped up by the end of the year after the defence closed its case in the Western Cape High Court on Monday.
"In the circumstances, I have decided not to call any further witnesses and I close the case of the defence," said Rohde's lawyer, Graham van der Spuy.
The parties had discussed timelines and agreed they would be ready to give closing arguments on November 6, said prosecutor Louis van Niekerk, News24 reported.
Judge Gayaat Salie-Hlophe indicated that this would meet with her satisfaction.
"Mr Rohde, we have come to the end of this trial... I am sure your counsel has explained what that entails. Your bail conditions are extended," the judge informed him.
Rohde pleaded not guilty to killing his wife and to staging her suicide at the Spier Hotel on July 24, 2016. He testified that he had grabbed his wife's body from the back of the bathroom door, placed her on the floor and made attempts to revive her.
"I thought she was still alive because there was a lot of spit coming out of her mouth. She was still warm. As warm as I was."
A second forensic pathologist, testifying for the defence last week, said he was 95% sure Susan had committed suicide.
"I believe that after taking everything into account, beyond reasonable doubt, the deceased on that morning hanged herself in the bathroom," Dr Izak Loftus said.
"She didn't die instantaneously. She was rescued or taken off from the ligature and she was unsuccessfully resuscitated."
Van Niekerk had put it to Loftus that he had failed to take all the evidence into account, specifically the possibility that the death was staged, and that Susan had not committed suicide.
Defence pathologist Dr Reggie Perumal, who conducted a second autopsy on Susan, had testified that suicide by hanging was the most probable cause, but he could not exclude other possibilities, such as manual strangulation.