A friend of convicted wife killer Jason Rohde said he is very caring and has "never said a bad word about anyone." Picture: Armand Hough / African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town - A friend of convicted wife killer Jason Rohde asked the Western Cape High Court on Monday to sentence him with "fairness and empathy".

Testifying in mitigation of sentence, David Craig Livingstone, told the court that he had been friends with Rohde since 2015.

“A long sentence would be extremely harmful and destructive for his three girls that he loves dearly,” he said.

Asked by defence advocate Graham van der Spuy if he would like to add anything in mitigation of Rohde’s sentence, he said: “I will just ask the court that Jason will be sentenced in the interest of fairness and empathy.”

The sentencing proceedings of Rohde resumed on Monday after the trial adjourned on December 6. Rohde, who was convicted in November last year, spent Christmas in Pollsmoor prison after his bail application, pending sentence, was denied by Judge Gayaat Salie-Hlophe.

Asked to comment on Rohde’s character since he had known him as a friend, Livingstone said: “As a friend I found him very kind, I found him very caring, very supportive, very understanding and he always had a very calm demeanour, very calm nature whenever I had to meet him for breakfast or for lunch or for dinner, he was always the same and he would treat you the same. And as a friend, a very loyal friend to me."

Van der Spuy asked Livingstone if he had ever heard Rohde saying bad things about his wife, to which he replied: “No, I’ve never heard him saying a bad word about anybody to be honest, whenever I was in his company, met him, he’s never said a bad word about anyone. As I said before, he really cares about the needs of others.”

He further told the court that Rohde was very intelligent and a very successful businessman and he (Livingstone) had never observed any signs of violence in Rohde in the years he had known him as a friend.

State advocate Louis van Niekerk told the court that the picture that the defence witness was projecting was completely different compared to what the court had found in Rohde's character. 

"The court made some very harsh findings on his actions and also pertaining to his character related to the facts before the court. You haven’t read the judgment but I’m not going to take you back there. But it completely differs from the picture that you project here for us today compared to what the court said," said Van Niekerk.

The former Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International CEO was found guilty of murdering his wife Susan Rohde and obstructing the ends of justice by staging her suicide. Susan’s body was found in a locked bathroom in a room she shared with Rohde on July 24, 2016 at the Spier Wine Estate Hotel in Stellenbosch. Her body was found with an electronic cord wrapped around her neck. The cord had been tied to a hook on the back of the bathroom door.

African News Agency (ANA)