‘Jason is Not a Threat’: How Rohde’s Mother Pleaded for Leniency

Craig Fliescher gives Brenda Rohde, mother of Former Sotheby’s executive Jason Rhode a convicted of killing his wife, a hug at the appearance of Jason at the Western Cape High Court for his sentencing proceedings. Date: February 18, 2019, Photo: ESA ALEXANDER/SUNDAY TIMES

Witnesses sympathetic to convicted wife killer Jason Rohde on Monday said much about how his children would suffer if the high court meted out a harsh sentence.

But the prosecution produced evidence that a policy held by his deceased wife had paid close to a million rand into a trust set up for their three daughters’ upkeep.

The property mogul and former CEO of Lew Geffen/Sotheby’s International Realty is pleading with the high court in Cape Town for a lenient sentence.

Rohde has been convicted of murdering his wife, Susan, at Spier in Stellenbosch in 2016.

He called his mother, Brenda Rohde, and friends Craig Fleischer and lawyer Craig Livingstone to testify about his character.  All  three sang his praises and asked for a lesser sentence.

Jason Rohde’s mother, Brenda Rohde, gave testimony in the Cape Town High Court on February 18 2019.

But the most common thread in their testimony was that Rohde was the “sole provider” for his children.

Brenda Rohde told the court heard that Rohde’s twin daughters had enrolled at a university in the Western Cape while his eldest daughter had dropped out of university because her father’s trial had taken a toll on her. She said the eldest daughter felt financially responsible towards her siblings and had found a waitressing job in Cape Town.

Rohde’s counsel, Graham van der Spuy, asked Brenda whether she and her husband were “in a position to finance the girls through university”.

Jason Rohde's friend Craig Fleischer hugs Rohde's mother Brenda Rohde after testifying in mitigation for a lesser sentence.

Jason Rohde’s friend Craig Fleischer hugs Rohde’s mother Brenda Rohde after testifying in mitigation for a lesser sentence. 
Image: Esa Alexander

“No,” Brenda said. “The mother-in-law (Susan’s mother) is said to be organising funds. I have no idea where those funds are coming from. When we had a round table (with Rohde’s in-laws) tried to keep things clear because we have grandchildren and we love them. We had a round table in January – they indicated that they are organising funds.””

But prosecutor Louis van Niekerk told Brenda: “The statement I will put to you is that the twins are well cared for in university”” Van Niekerk handed in a document indicating that Liberty Life had paid out R750,000 in a trust account that would take care of the children’s education. Van der Spuy said Rohde was not aware of the policy.

“I am also puzzled that it had paid out,” said Van der Spuy.

Judge Gayaat Salie-Hlophe postponed  the matter to Wednesday for arguments  ahead of sentencing. Rohde has been in custody since he lost his bail after his conviction in November.

Written by Mathew

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