JOHANNESBURG– Murder-accused boss of Sotheby’s International Realty South Africa, Jason Rohde, is expected to apply for bail in the Stellenbosch Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.
On Friday, a routine application to remand Rohde, which was vigorously opposed by his six-man high-powered legal team, was granted.
The purpose of such a remand, normally for seven days, is to gather background information about the accused, such as whether the accused has any previous convictions or pending criminal cases, or any outstanding arrest warrants that still need to be executed.
Based on the information gleaned, prosecuting authorities decide whether to oppose the accused’s release on bail, or to fix bail with strict conditions.
The 47-year-old father of three was arrested at his Bryanston home in Johannesburg early on August 23 on a charge of murdering his wife, Susan, 45, in their hotel room at the Spier Estate near Stellenbosch.
The couple had attended a Sotheby’s function at the Spier Estate, and the wife was found dead in the bathroom of their room on July 24.
A privately-engaged pathologist, who did an autopsy on the body, reported that the death was suicide, while the result of a subsequent post mortem carried out by a State pathologist, indicated that her death was due to strangulation.
The State pathologist’s report turned what started as an inquest investigation into a murder probe.
In Friday’s proceedings, the prosecutor read into the court record the contents of a sworn affidavit by the investigating officer, Stellenbosch detective sergeant Marlon Appollis.
In it, Appollis explained that he arrested Rohde after satisfying himself that there was a reasonable suspicion that he had killed his wife, and that the accused was a flight risk.
The arrest was carried out despite an earlier “gentlemen’s agreement” that Rohde would be permitted to surrender himself to the police without the ordeal of an arrest, he said.
Appollis carried out the arrest at 6.30am on August 23, after consulting his superiors and a deputy director attached to the Western Cape Directorate for Public prosecutions.
Appollis said he needed until Tuesday to verify information, and to subpoena the Reserve Bank about Rohde’s financial status.
– African News Agency