Defence wants leniency for sake of kids

Date: 19 Feb 2019

BRENDA Rohde, the mother of former property mogul Jason Rohde, has described her son as a “kind, loyal, caring father and gentle person”. She was testifying in sentencing proceedings yesterday.

Rohde was convicted of murder and obstructing the ends of justice by the Western Cape High Court last year after his wife Susan’s body was found on July 24, 2016 with a hair-iron cord wrapped around her neck, hanging from a hook behind the bathroom door of the room they shared at the Spier Wine Estate Hotel.

Yesterday, Brenda told the court that her son was a non-violent man who cared for his three daughters.

“Jason as a son… is a good, kind, loyal person. He is very quiet. He can get angry, but his anger is when he gets quiet and walks away. He doesn’t sulk and is not moody. (He does not show) physical acts of aggression. He hates violence,” she said.

As his mother spoke, Rohde listened attentively, looking in her direction. He appeared to have lost weight, with his grey hair cut much shorter than he usually wears it.

He shared a brief smile with his 69-year-old mother, who is also his business partner at Glass House Realty and Associates.

Rohde’s daughters, who were expected to testify, will not be taking the stand. Defence advocate Graham van der Spuy said the eldest daughter, Kathryn Rohde, 20, refused to testify because she felt intimidated as her evidence would be broadcast live.

Two of Rohde’s friends, David Craig Livingstone and Craig Fleischer, both had good things to say about him.

Livingstone, an attorney who has known Rohde since 2015, said he was the sole provider for his girls.

“A jail sentence will have a dramatic effect on the kids,” he said.

Fleischer said: “(Rohde is a) fantastic friend and father. I hope and pray a right decision and a right sentence will be handed to our friend.”

By ZODIDI DANO zodidi.dano@inl.co.za

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