Jason Rohde’s bail application has been set down for next week before Judge Gayaat Salie-Hlophe – the same judge who convicted, sentenced and turned down his request for leave to appeal.
Rohde, who is serving an effective 20 years in prison for killing his wife Susan and staging her suicide at the Spier Hotel in Stellenbosch three years ago, has been granted leave to appeal his conviction by the Supreme Court.
In court papers, the property mogul asked to be released in order to stop a “hostile takeover” of his company, Glasshouse Realty & Associates (Pty) Ltd. His daughters’ financial wellbeing depended on it, he argued, as there was only enough money for maintenance and support of his children until the end of the year.
Furthermore, should the appeal find that Susan had committed suicide, insurance policies would have to be repaid, as they were both subject to a two-year suicide clause, Rohde argued.
Salie-Hlophe found Rohde guilty in November last year, saying he had “staged her death as a play” and roped in various “actors” and “extras” to fabricate a story that she had killed herself.
In February, he was sentenced to 18 years for the murder and five years for staging the suicide, three of which would run concurrently.
He has, however, maintained his innocence, claiming his extramarital affair had driven his wife to take her own life.
The defence, in their appeal of Salie-Hlophe’s ruling, said the court had been “mentally cruel” in an “unfair” trial, arguing that the judge had made various rulings, issued orders, acted or omitted to act and/or conducted herself in a manner that individually and cumulatively had the effect of constituting an infringement and a violation of Rohde’s right to a fair trial.
Salie-Hlophe dismissed the application in April, saying the defence had rehashed arguments made during Rohde’s trial and sentencing.
She said she was of the view that Rohde had not satisfied the court that he had a reasonable chance of success in his appeal.
Last month, Rohde was granted his application to appeal to the Supreme Court. A date has not yet been set for the hearing.
His bail application will be heard on Wednesday.