Top prosecutor Billy Downer to try Jason Rohde’s ex-lover
But now in an ironic twist, estate agent and single mom Jolene Alterskye faces the very real prospect of prosecution in the same Western Cape High Court that convicted her ex-lover of murder and defeating the ends of justice.
And to make matters worse, she will be prosecuted by one of the National Prosecuting Authority’s biggest hitters in Billy Downer.
Senior Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions for the Western Cape, Downer is best known for his prosecution of Schabir Shaik, and the man destined to try Jacob Zuma for arms deal-related corruption.
The first NPA shot was fired on Monday when Alterskye, 37, appeared in Cape Town Magistrate’s Court where she was charged with one count of contempt of court alternatively criminal defamation of Rohde trial justice, Judge Gayaat Salie-Hlophe.
She also faces two counts of criminal defamation alternatively crimen injuria of Rohde investigating officers sergeants Stephen Adams and Marlon Appolis, who is facing a culpable homicide charge for shooting a colleague.
Alterskye’s woes began with her social media rush of blood to the head in February following Salie-Hlophe’s sentencing of Rhode to 20 years for the murder of his wife in July 2016.
“I am appauled in (sic) this so called justice system,” wrote Alterskye. “The whole case was an attempt by the State to create a crime which never happened so they can lock up a ‘high profile white man” to try show the country that they doing their job. As far as I am concerned the State and the Judge are the same team and if the State acted unlawfully in illegally searching properties and bribing state witnesses, what else did they fabricate in order to get their Xmas Bonus? A corrupt country starts with corrupt police and I do hope the truth be revealed and actual justice served.”
Following wide publication of her outburst, Alterskye apologised “unequivocally” for her “unfortunate comments” in hand-delivered letters to Salie-Hlophe and the NPA.
“From the time that Mr Rohde was arrested, throughout the Trial and at present I had been under intense media and public scrutiny,” she explained.
“This has caused me severe psychological stress and it has caused my family, which includes my minor son, considerable emotional strain. My personal life as well as my family and business life has literally been turned upside down and I realise now that I was unable to cope with all of this intense pressure over a considerable period of time. Without thinking rationally, I made the comments whereas I should not have done so. I also did not realise when making the said comments that there would be such a big reaction to same.
“On reflection, the way that I have behaved was unacceptable and I can only but humbly apologise to those who have been affected. I respect the judicial process and the standing of the Courts.”
Following her appearance this week, her attorney William Booth said he was still awaiting NPA clarification which he had sought some time ago on why his client would be charged in the High Court. “My experience is these charges are always dealt with in lower courts. There is a massive cost implication for my client if this goes to the High Court.”
Asked why the NPA was treating this as a high-profile case, spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said: “It’s an operational decision which we don’t discuss with the media.”