Bernadette Wicks
Senior court reporter
2 minute read
24 Jun 2021
9:11 am

Wife killer Jason Rohde takes another shot at clearing his name

Bernadette Wicks

Jason Rohde’s lawyers said Panieri-Peter’s testimony rendered the trial unfair.

Picture: iStock

Two and a half years after he was found guilty of murdering his wife, Susan Rohde, at a plush Stellenbosch hotel, former Lew Geffen Sotheby’s chief executive Jason Rohde is taking another shot at clearing his name.

The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) will in August hear a long-pending application from Rohde to overturn his convictions and the 20 years in prison he got slapped with.

Susan Rohde was found dead in the bathroom of a suite she and Rohde were staying in at the Spier Hotel in July 2016.

Rohde convicted of wife’s murder

Despite Rohde’s insistence that Susan had taken her own life after learning he was having an affair, Western Cape High Court Judge Gayaat Salie-Hlophe in November 2018 convicted him of his wife’s murder.

In July 2019, the SCA granted Rohde leave to appeal.

Rohde is being represented by attorney Daniel Witz and by two senior advocates who will, in August, argue against a decision Salie-Hlophe took at trial not to hear evidence the defence wanted to lead from forensic psychiatrist Larissa Panieri-Peter to the effect that Susan was suicidal.

This despite having accepted evidence the state had led from her personal psychologist, Jane Newcombe, to the contrary.

At the time, Salie-Hlophe said Panieri-Peter’s testimony and a report she had compiled was simply a rehash of other witnesses’ evidence. But, say Rohde’s lawyers, this rendered the trial unfair.

Charges against Jolene Alterskye

Back in May 2020, the acting director of public prosecutions in the Western Cape, Advocate Nicolette Bell, dropped charges against Jolene Alterskye, following her representations in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court.

According to a statement issued by the office, Alterskye was charged with criminal defamation, alternatively crimen injuria (five counts) and contempt of court, alternatively criminal defamation (one count) when she made public disparaging remarks against the justice system and various individuals in it.

Alterskye was the girlfriend of Jason, who was convicted and sentenced to imprisonment for the murder of his wife, Susan Rohde, and for defeating or obstructing the administration of justice. Read more here.